NYAPRS Note: Following are excerpts from today’s State of the Stateaddress from NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Caring for Our Most Vulnerable Citizens
We must transform the way we deliver services to our over two million
residents with disabilities. We spend more than any other state on
services and support provided both by our government and a vast array of
nonprofit and private agencies. Yet according to a recent report, New
in the bottom quartile among states in serving adults with disabilities.
This situation is fiscally irresponsible and morally unacceptable.
Many of the problems our disabled residents encounter are not the result
of limited resources, but rooted instead in failures in the organization
and management of services. We must develop a system that recognizes the
potential of and the barriers faced by each individual we serve. We
must focus on quality and prevention, and simplify and streamline access
As the Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C., people with disabilities
have a right to receive care in the most integrated setting appropriate
to their needs. Therefore, we will develop an Olmstead Implementation
Plan that will guide the transition of individuals from institutional to
based care, provide access to affordable and accessible housing, and
promote employment of persons with disabilities. We must erase stigmas
and ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are fully
recognized and fully protected.
In addition, we must do all we can to ensure the safety of those in our
care. That is why, last year, I appointed Clarence Sundram, a leading
expert on the provision of care to persons with developmental
disabilities, as my Special Advisor on Vulnerable Persons. Mr. Sundram
in a comprehensive review of relevant state programs and we will
implement reforms to better protect against abuse and neglect.
Implement the New York Health Exchange
Almost 16 percent of New Yorkers under the age of 65 – 2.7 million
people – are uninsured. Most are working people and their dependents.
We have a unique opportunity to address this challenge by developing a
New York State Health Insurance Exchange that will be financed entirely
by the federal government.
When the Exchange is implemented, more than one million New Yorkers will
gain health coverage and individuals who currently buy their coverage
directly will see their cost drop by 66 percent. Small businesses will
see the cost of providing coverage to their employees drop by 22
percent. In addition to the benefits to the uninsured and small
businesses, the Exchange will benefit New York’s taxpayers. The $1.7
billion that taxpayers currently contribute to offset the cost of
providing care to the uninsured will be significantly reduced. The
increased federal Medicaid match that recognizes New York’s higher
Medicaid eligibility levels will bring an additional $18 billion in
funds to the state over 10 years.
We must enact the legislation necessary to establish the Health
Insurance Exchange now.