Bradley: Protecting Westchester seniors' quality of life

Westchester seniors face unique challenges, from costly prescription drugs to maintaining a home on a fixed-income. To protect those who have made Westchester a great place to live, work and raise a family, I've pushed for stricter property tax exemptions for seniors, opposed fee increases to the state's Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC) and supported decreasing expenses for medication.

Improving access to quality, affordable health care

Unfortunately, the Bush administration created a new Medicare program which helps drug companies at the expense of seniors and just recently raised seniors' Medicare premiums for doctor visits by 17 percent. It's obvious that much more work needs to be done to ensure that Westchester seniors are provided the care they deserve.

Now, with Westchester County Medical Center in danger, it's critical that our health care providers have the funding they need to keep their doors open. That's why I fought the governor's narrow-minded proposals and worked to restore $40 million in cuts to hospitals, and rejected a new "sick tax" on hospitals and other health care providers.

Quality health care is a right, not a privilege. Too many cuts masquerading as "reforms" are targeting the most vulnerable among us, especially seniors living on fixed-incomes. That's just not fair, and I'll continue fighting to ensure our loved ones have access to quality, affordable health care. Our priority must be seniors, not HMOs or large pharmaceutical companies.

Reducing the tax burden

Westchester seniors have worked hard their entire lives to save money so that one day they could live comfortably. They deserve that right, which is why I'm pushing for greater property tax exemptions for seniors.

To help seniors who see a drop in their income due to retirement or other reasons, I sponsored legislation which passed the Assembly allowing them to substitute more recent tax returns if it helps them to meet the income requirement for the enhanced STAR program (A.7873). I also helped save taxpayers $4.4 million next year by lessening Westchester County's Medicaid burden.

Our seniors have worked hard to enrich our community, provide for their families and preserve our quality of life. It's time for us to give back, and I will continue to ensure that Westchester seniors receive the care and assistance they deserve.