Dick Gottfried, Assemblyman

Richard “Dick” Gottfried is a member of the New York State Assembly and chair of the NYS Assembly Health Committee, where he worked on nursing home regulation. Assemblyman Gottfried is a strong advocate for universal access to quality, affordable healthcare. Click the black squares below to hear and read about the Assemblyman’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The expanded interview (edited for clarity) is available at the bottom of the page.

Virtually every problem with COVID in our nursing homes was a problem that had been long existing in our nursing homes. COVID just made all those problems worse, and for some people made them more evident. 

You know, one fundamental problem is that Governor Cuomo, going back to when he first took office, got the legislature through the power that governors have in the budget process to enact a cap on Medicaid spending. And as a result, virtually every aspect of care that has been funded by Medicaid has been significantly underfunded, and that’s especially true for nursing homes and home care. 

One issue that I think affects the life of every one of us including relating to long-term care is the inadequacy of health coverage in this country. And one of the most important features of the New York Health Act, which is my bill to set up a single payer system in New York, is that it would cover long term care, home care and nursing home care. 

It affected my work enormously, because every issue we deal with was massively, or is massively affected by COVID and to a certain extent it pushed every issue out of the way except for its COVID aspect and that’s certainly true for long-term care, especially nursing homes.

Click below for the expanded interview (05:42).