'Deficit Reduction Act' has Long Islanders worried about Medicaid

A new act passed by Congress aimed at reducing the deficit has many Long Islanders worried about Medicaid benefits.

Under the new law, nine million Medicaid beneficiaries will have to pay yearly premiums and co-pays for doctor visits. The bill affects roughly 160,000 eligible Long Islanders, and experts believe thousands will be forced off and left without medical care. Welfare advocates say the law is "war on the working middle class."

The bill also raises interest rates on federal student loans from 4.7 percent to 6.8. Congressman Peter King (R-NY) supports the plan, saying it is balanced and will give $1 billion to the nation's first responders. President Bush is expected to sign off on the bill next week.

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