In order to ease the financial burden on the state's elderly, Governor Mario
Cuomo signed Medicare Assignment legislation in 1990. This legislation places
strict limits on the amount that physicians can charge the elderly.
The Governor created the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program in
1987 to ensure that all elderly New Yorkers can afford the medication they
need. The EPIC program has already served 95,000 elderly New Yorkers.
In 1986 Mario Cuomo created the Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly
Program to provide non-medical services at home to nearly 24,000 low income
seniors. The program is available on a sliding scale based on the senior's
The Governor's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program delivers nutritious
meals to seniors in their homes in order to reduce the risk of hunger,
malnutrition and related illnesses. The SNAP program currently delivers more
than 10 million home delivered meals each year to over 50,000 homebound
Unlike other governors and the federal government, Mario Cuomo has
steadfastly refused to tax Social Security benefits and has twice raised
benefits for New Yorkers receiving SSI. The Governor's refusal has saved New
York senior citizens roughly $800 million.
The Cuomo administration has led the fight against age discrimination,
establishing tough policies that ban age discrimination in all state agencies
and housing facilities. In 1984, prior to federal action, Governor Cuomo
abolished mandatory retirement for most occupations, and extended the
prohibition against age discrimination in employment beyond its previous upper
age limit of 65.
The Governor's long term care insurance project makes it possible to buy
insurance policies which must provide three years of nursing home coverage and
six years of home coverage.
In July, 1990, Governor Cuomo signed into law New York's Health Care Proxy
Law. This law allows people of all ages to designate an agent to make health care decisions on their behalf in the event they
become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions on their own.
Created by the Governor in 1987, the N.Y.S Office for the Aging and Long Term
Care Ombudsman, assists seniors seeking state services and benefits.
To combat the problem of spousal impoverishment, the Governor has signed
legislation to allow the spouse of a senior placed in nursing care to receive
the most progressive levels of income allowed by the federal government.