O’Mara website features Medicaid poll

Staff reports

A new poll on Sen. Tom O’Mara’s website asks residents if they think the state should take over the cost of Medicaid to alleviate counties of their single-largest state-mandated expense.

The poll opened Tuesday, the day before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s second State of the State Message to the Legislature.

The poll gives residents of the 53rd State Senate District a chance to weigh in on one of this year’s key debates, O’Mara said.

The poll can be found in the left-hand column on omara.nysenate.gov.

O’Mara, R-Big Flats, co-sponsored legislation late last year that would start an eight-year phase-in of a complete state takeover of Medicaid costs. He said the 2 percent property tax cap imposed as part of last year’s state budget makes it unrealistic for the state to keep requiring local governments to pay escalating Medicaid costs.

Cuomo has dismissed the idea of a state takeover.

O’Mara has also introduced legislation with local Assemblymen Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, and Chris Friend, R-Big Flats, that would effectively freeze local Medicaid costs.

“I’m glad to give local residents this opportunity to express their opinions on whether it should be a top priority in 2012 to begin putting in place a new system of Medicaid where county governments never again have to raise local property taxes to meet rising Medicaid costs,” O’Mara said.