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Recently, Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz and State Sen. Dale Volker came under fire for their actions during the state budget negotiations. Count me among their supporters.

Tokasz and Volker, along with the Western New York state legislative delegation, have been ardent supporters of local health care. The Legislature's recent budget proposal eliminates the most damaging Medicaid cuts contained in the executive budget, and greatly mitigates the impact of other cuts and provider taxes that hospitals had otherwise faced. These actions also set the stage for the much needed, and most significant, dialogue on statewide right-sizing of health care.

Tokasz and Volker played a key role in co-sponsoring legislation, which they passed within the state budget, finalizing an agreement that helps maintain our Women and Children's Hospital as a freestanding facility on Bryant Street. That is nothing but good news for the people of Buffalo.

Over the past three years, it has been my job to lead Kaleida Health through an immense financial turnaround -- from $125 million in losses from 1998 through 2002 -- to a modest surplus of $7.5 million in 2004. Without allies such as Tokasz and Volker fighting for us in Albany, the job would have been impossible.

William D. McGuire

Chief Executive Officer

Kaleida Health