– istockphoto.com/AlexRaths

Proposes Supplementing Governor’s $15M Boost; Assembly Proposes Utility Consumer Advocate, Senate Backs Expansion of EPIC to Fight Rising Rx Prices

ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement today on the New York State Senate’s and Assembly’s 2019-20 state budget resolutions: 

“The approximately $16 million increase state lawmakers proposed for services that help working and middle class New Yorkers care for their loved ones at home would mark an historic investment and help thousands of families in the nick of time – as our population ages fast. 

“Home-delivered meals, transportation to medical appointments and assistance with bathing, dressing and other daily activities help New Yorkers delay and avoid moving to more expensive and mostly taxpayer-funded nursing homes. 

“AARP applauds the Assembly for proposing to add $1 million and the Senate $750,000 to the $15 million increase Governor Cuomo originally proposed for these non-Medicaid services. 

“This critical investment would move thousands of qualifying families off waiting lists for these services. The Governor and Legislature must make sure this money doesn’t fall off the table during their upcoming negotiations and include it in the final 2019-20 state budget due April 1. 

“AARP also applauds the Assembly for proposing an independent utility consumer advocate – as most states already have – and funding for intervenors in utility rate cases. 

“New Yorkers pay among the highest utility rates in the nation, yet they have no one advocating solely for them when regulators weigh rate hikes. The Legislature’s proposal would level a playing field where consumers’ money actually pays for utility company lawyers and experts to push higher rates on those very same consumers. 

“On the day AARP launched a nationwide ‘Stop Rx Greed’ campaign to fight rising prescription drug costs, we thank the state Senate for proposing to expand eligibility for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program and help older New Yorkers obtain prescriptions more affordably. 

“And AARP thanks both houses for proposing $20 million to continue funding due to run out at the end of this month for vital housing and legal counseling services for vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure and mortgage fraud.”

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.