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Oneida County Executive supporting Medicaid Reform Bill

By HILARY LANE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente was joined by local officials on Monday to announce their support for a bill that would shift the burden of funding medicaid off of local property taxpayers and onto the state government.

New York State is one of only a handful of states that ask counties to contribute to funding medicaid. In other states, the state and federal government split the costs 50/50.

On a local level, the Medicaid bill increases $1.5 million every year and the expenses are now the largest cost center in the Oneida County budget.

"We were able to sustain the 2% cap this year, but it is going to be more and more difficult every year, because unless the reforms are there, the programs that we do on the discretionary side are going to go away," says Picente.

The programs he is referring to include senior, public safety, veteran, and agriculture programs that he says will all begin to suffer if Medicaid is not reformed.

However, cuts to medicaid could impact the 26% of local residents who rely on the healthcare program.

"Medicaid pays for people who are elderly to get preventative care and emergency care and individuals with disability depend on medicaid to have people get ready for work, to sleep, to eat," says Donna Gillette, a public policy analyst at the Resource Center for Independent Living.

Picente says re-designing the program will help the state fund the 8-year state takeover of Medicaid.

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