State

Cuomo warns of Affordable Care Act repeal consequences

Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) criticized an amendment to the AHCA introduced by Republican Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) and John Faso (R-NY). The amendment would require the state to shoulder $2.3 billion to fill in upstate and Long Island counties’ share for funding Medicaid.

New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday gave a warning on the potential consequences of the Republican Party’s plan to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed the American Health Care Act, a bill aimed to replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which is commonly known as Obamacare. The AHCA would replace ACA itself and change its premium tax credits rule from income-based to a flat tax determined by age. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation have estimated the bill would slash federal deficits by $337 billion between 2017-26.

Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump support the AHCA, while Democrats and some Republican members have voiced opposition to the bill, including Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who represents New York’s 24th Congressional District that covers Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne and Oswego counties.

“My greatest fear from last year’s election has actually come true, which is you would have a rabid, conservative ideology in Washington that would tell New York to drop dead and that is exactly what is going on,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “You have a Paul Ryan — an ultra-conservative congress that has been talking about making dramatic changes that would be devastating to New York for a long time.”

“They’ve declared war on New York, and this is just the beginning,” he added. “It started with health care, you’re going to see it with the budget that disproportionately hurts New York.”

The CBO also estimated 14 million people would lose health insurance if the ACA were to be repealed, and Cuomo said that 2.7 million people in New York state are in jeopardy of losing their coverage.

Cuomo also criticized an amendment to the AHCA introduced by Republican Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) and John Faso (R-NY). The amendment would require the state to shoulder $2.3 billion to fill in upstate and Long Island counties’ share for funding Medicaid. Cuomo criticized this amendment, which would only be applied to New York state and said it would lead to more hospitals closing.

It would cost New York $6.9 billion if the AHCA and the amendment were passed, Cuomo said.

“There is no fairy that is going to float down and hand over $2.3 billion to make up the shortfall that the counties lack,” he said.

Cuomo cited the expression “pass the buck without passing the bucks” — used when former President Ronald Reagan was in office — to compare the current repealing situation. “Pass the buck,” Cuomo explained, is a phrase indicating shifting responsibilities to the state, while “without passing the bucks” means states can’t receive the resources needed to fulfill those tasks.

“That’s exactly what they have done here, with this cheap rhetoric of the government closest to the people knows best,” Cuomo said. “They are going to defer to the states and block grant to the states to do healthcare, but then they cut the funding that New York has been getting to the tune of $4.6 billion over four years.”

Cuomo said the potential $4.6 billion cut would be a “devastating” financial cut to the state. He added that amendment recently introduced would mean that counties no longer have to contribute to Medicaid funding.

“That means you cut Medicaid even more when you take off the counties responsibility,” he said. “It would be an additional $2.3 billion cut to Medicaid. That’s just in the areas in Upstate New York and Long Island. That’s who the amendment is affecting.”

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