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Silver Responds to Medicaid Criticism

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is responding to local government officials who are calling on state leaders to relieve their Medicaid burden.

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi is challenging all county executives to work against the election of one state legislator from their counties as a protest against Medicaid and other "unfunded mandates" imposed by Albany. Silver calls that "outrageous."

But Silver could just as easily be talking about Erie County Executive Joel Giambra. A vocal critic of the Medicaid burden on local governments, Giambra says he plans on "being a fixture" in Albany to argue his case. And if the state Legislature fails to act, he promises to "get involved" in next year's elections.

But Silver says if they're going to complain, they need to name the Medicaid benefits they would cut to reduce the fiscal burden. He asked if the state should eliminate chiropractic services or dental services.

Silver said Medicaid costs are higher in New York than elsewhere because the state covers more long-term and catastrophic services than the others.