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As senior vice president and chief financial officer of the Catholic Health System, I believe the Dec. 23 News editorial "Albany's money grab" is somewhat inaccurate and unfair to our State Assembly Democrats.

Stating that the "swindle will cost Erie County $9.5 million over the 3 1/2 -year life of the legislation" is inaccurate because it fails to disclose that these dollars will be more than offset by the continuation of Medicaid cuts to health-care providers over this period of time.

This savings of over $10 million was what our supporting assemblymen voted for when they had to confront the many complex "give and take" issues in this bill.

The editorial is unfair to our assemblymen in that it does not give them credit for responding to an issue that would have handed the health-care industry even more financial devastation -- issues covered well in The News over the past several months.

Without their support and attention to these details, medical education would have been slashed, ridiculous health-care "taxes" continued and even more Medicaid cuts introduced to an underfinanced system in Western New York.

These assemblymen should be praised for understanding all the intricacies of this issue and having the courage to do the right thing for Western New York.

The News is right about one thing -- I remember voting for our assemblymen, senators and governor, but I don't remember voting for Dennis Rivera, head of Service Employees International Union, Local 1199. It is inappropriate to allow him, or any other non-elected private citizen, businessman or union official, to negotiate on statewide and community issues.



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