Attendees at budget forum urge state Senate to reconsider proposed Medicaid cuts

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Members of Westchester's state Senate delegation got an earful Tuesday from concerned residents who are not happy about possible Medicaid cuts in the state's proposed 2020-2021 budget.

The budget forum was held at the Westcheter County Center in White Plains.

White Plains resident Joe Bravo urged the county's state Senate delegation to remember people with disabilities. Bravo says he is concerned because Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2020-2021 budget proposal includes a plan to slash more than $2 billion in Medicaid funding to help reduce the state's ballooning deficit.

"That's a frightening prospect for people who depend on Medicaid for home care, for other essential services,” he says.

Maria Samuels, with Westchester Disabled On The Move, says she is worried, too.

Samuels says the governor's plan to overhaul how the state allocates Medicaid funds would hurt people who depend on the subsidies to stay in their homes.

"These are people who came out of nursing homes, want to remain in the community and are able to remain in the community, but they need support, they need that Medicaid funding to remain in the community,” says Samuels.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins presided over the budget hearing. She says constituents’ concerns will help legislators shape their input on the governor's spending plan.

"When we weigh in in terms of the priorities of our constituents, we can be influential in changing some of those decisions,” she says.

Advocates for people with disabilities hope they can convince Cuomo to rethink a drastic cutback in Medicaid funding.

The new state budget goes into effect April 1.

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