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Win some, lose something

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Daily Point

Hit the jackpot, lose Medicaid

For years, well at least since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have gone on about largely mythical “welfare queens” living high off the government hog, but the new health care legislation proposed by the GOP goes to great pains to make sure “lottery lords” won’t be able to get Medicaid benefits.

About six pages of the legislation are dedicated to laying out how long lottery jackpot winners will lose benefits, based on how much they win. Currently, big lump-sum windfalls only count as income in the month players win them, but under the new plan, someone who wins $80,000 could be kicked off the rolls for two months, and each additional $10,000 of winnings would add another two months to how long they could be kicked off.

Though not unreasonable — no one who has a pile of money in the bank ought to be getting Medicaid — it seems odd to single out those few people who get lucky in the lottery. According to a memo from House Energy and Commerce Committee staff, “individuals with lower economic status are more likely to play the lottery than individuals with higher income.”

Lane Filler

Talking Point

Who run the world?

To celebrate #adaywithoutawoman and protest President Donald Trump, hundreds gathered at the base of Central Park on Wednesday for speeches and marches to Trump properties in Manhattan.

As the women, many wearing red, walked and chanted, memories of the Women’s March on Washington in January hung over the proceedings.

Rachel Cohen, 33, said that at January’s march, she was still “processing” the election. Wednesday’s event had a “different feel” because it was more about actions — demonstrating purchasing power and female economic strength, for example.

Wednesday’s march wasn’t as large as those after the inauguration. It takes more buy-in to walk out of work, though many did.

Some 20 employees of Mirrorball Group LLC, an NYC-based marketing agency, gathered by the Plaza Hotel for the event, some holding red flowers or wearing them in their ears.

Felicia Neuhof, 23, a junior art director at the agency, also went to the Women’s March. She said organizers of that event detailed actions to take during Trump’s first 100 days. Those included telephone calls to Congress about immigration and women’s issues, though Neuhof found the lines were often busy. Another specific action on the list: Wednesday’s event.

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

Seeing red

Pointing Out

Hubba, hubba in Suffolk

The Ronkonkoma Hub project took a solid step forward Tuesday when the Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to let the mammoth development connect to the Southwest Sewer District. The key was a tweak in the resolution to make clear that homeowners already in the sewer district wouldn’t have to pay for any part of the Hub’s hookup.

Not so fast, says Paul Sabatino.

Sabatino, an attorney and former chief deputy county executive who has few peers in his knowledge of municipal law and finance, has a beef with the county’s accounting. The cost of the Hub’s hookup is $26 million. The county says $12 million of the total bonding cost will be covered by future connection fees from other projects using the Hub’s hookup. Sabatino says that’s double-counting. That $12 million, he says, is supposed to cover those projects’ costs, not the Hub’s. Therefore, current Southwest residents will bear almost half of the Hub’s hookup cost after all, according to Sabatino.

Sabatino, an equal opportunity thorn-in-the-side, filed an unrelated lawsuit in 2015 claiming that the county is sitting on an illegal surplus in the sewer district of $288 million that should be returned to district taxpayers. Sabatino told The Point he’s going to add the $12 million to that total in his next court appearance next week.

Given Sabatino’s won-loss record, this bears watching.

Michael Dobie


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