The U.S. House of Representatives’ vote on the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act looms this evening, and some of New York’s representatives are still on the fence. New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is hoping to change that.
“They say the number one rule for doctors is ‘do no harm.’ I think it should apply for our congressman. Our congressman should do no harm and back off from this plan that is a prescription for disaster,” said Hochul, who is urging New York’s congressional delegation to put their state’s interest first.
Hochul said the GOP-proposed American Health Care Act will be "devastating" for New Yorkers -- especially older residents.
“This is going to have devastating consequences for the people of our state, particularly our vulnerable seniors in nursing homes, as well as a bigger financial hit for almost-seniors – the 50 to 65 year old category of individuals,” said Hochul. “And there’s nothing good that comes out of it for New York. We have over seven million people who benefit from the Affordable Care Act, slash ‘Obamacare.’”
Hochul visited Washington twice in the last two weeks to try to sway the minds of New York Republicans who are in favor of the replacement for the Affordable Care Act or are still undecided.
“Yes there are ways we can reform it,” said Hochul, recalling her message to lawmakers. “We can make it better, but please do not end this healthcare program and increase taxes for New Yorkers at the same time as we’re closing hospitals and hurting people that we represent.”
Hochul said Republicans like John Katko from Central new York’s 24th congressional district understand the impact. Peter King of Long Island’s 2nd district and Daniel Donovan from Staten Island’s 11th district are among those Hochul said are still undecided.
Western New York Republican Chris Collins of the 27th district and Hudson Valley Republican John Faso of the 19th district are among the faction Hochul describes as “hardcore people that have turned their back on the state of New York.” Hochul is displeased with the duo’s recently added amendment to the American Health Care Act, which would bar New York from imposing Medicaid costs on upstate and Long Island counties, with the intent to save taxpayers big bucks in property taxes.
Hochul said the majority of those dollars currently go to hospitals, as well as nursing homes that would become unable to support middle class families whose parents and grandparents need care.
“Those will be people that will be in your spare bedroom and you’ll be providing them healthcare if these programs are cut to the tune that Chris Collins wants them cut,” said Hochul.
Hochul’s office calculated the impact on Collins’ district alone, and said hospitals would lose $7.8 million.
“I guarantee that small ones like in Wyoming County that are just on the margins – this could be the death knell. This could be what forces them to close,” said Hochul. “And not just is that ending healthcare in these harder-to-serve areas – which is so important – it’s also jobs. There’s so many counties where the hospitals are the largest employers.”
WBFO reached out to Congressman Collins, but he was unavailable for comment.