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NY Congresswoman Expects Fight on Bush Health Cuts

February 26, 2007

President Bush's budget includes cuts of $2.8 billion to health care funding for New York over the next five years, prompting some in Congress to fight back. New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat, began her career as a nurse. She's especially concerned about the teaching hospitals, which serve the neediest communities, but says the cuts will hurt everyone.

"When Bush's budget comes down, he's still looking for more tax cuts. We can't sustain them anymore. When I first got into Congress, I said that our health care system was in a crisis. Now, we're in what is certainly a full blown trauma. On Long Island alone, we are going to lose $530 million. We have a large population on Medicare, Medicaid, and a lot of hospitals are going to have to turn these patients away. We're seeing that with doctors already."

Upstate, the combination of the President's proposed cuts along with Governor Spitzer's plans to reduce direct funding to hospitals could be a devastating one-two punch, according to Kevin Dahill, Healthcare Association of New York State.

"These kinds of blows to the healthcare infrastructure are going to be tremendous. Those communities are also experiencing very significant physician shortages. It's not been an attractive place to recruit new physicians, and this is going to make it terribly worse."

Rep. McCarthy says she's counting on her Congressional compatriots to restore significant funding.

Michael Clifford/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - NY