Hochul asks: If Trump finds Senate bill "mean," why would he support it?

Jun 26, 2017

On the same day the Congressional Budget Office issued its assessment of the Senate's proposed health bill, the Cuomo Administration offered its own sharp criticism of a bill they say will prove devastating to everyday New Yorkers while seriously harming efforts to battle an ongoing opioid addiction epidemic.

According to the CBO, the Senate bill would result in 22 million more uninsured Americans over the next decade, compared to current law.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
Credit WBFO file photo

Governor Cuomo's office estimates that the Medicaid cuts proposed within the bill would jeopardize up to two thirds of the spending dedicated to opioid addiction countermeasures. That, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul told WBFO Monday, is just some of the harm New Yorkers would face.

"This is a very scary specter for all of us who have family members who take advantage of this," Hochul said. "Whether it's our grandparents in nursing homes or pregnant young women, our daughters, people need to know that this is no longer a game. It's not just a conversation or a philosophical debate. These are real consequences that New Yorkers will be having to deal with if the Senate does indeed pass this."

The Senate is expected to vote later in the week. The Cuomo Administration also takes exception to inclusion of a provision that Western New York Republican Chris Collins co-sponsored in the House version of health care reform. That provision offers property tax relief to Upstate New York while forbidding the state government from charging Upstate counties to help cover the cost of Medicaid. 

Hochul says Albany would not allow vulnerable populations to go without, but the federal government's conditions, if passed, would prove devastating to New York State.

"Yes, there will be a cost," she said. "I'm sorry to say that many taxpayers had a fast one pulled on them. People who thought they were going to get a better deal are going to realize that's not the case at all."

She likened the Senate's version of legislation to a tax break for the very rich in disguise. The average tax cut to the upper one percent, Hochul estimates, is about $37,000. 

Critics are also blasting Senate leadership for preparing their plan in secret. Hochul said by comparison, President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act was prepared after 18 months of "public conversation and hearings." She also questions why the White House would back a bill that even it admits is "mean."

"President Donald Trump agreed with President Obama's assessment that this bill is mean," she said. "It's mean-spirited. It doesn't take care of people. So why would he even support it?"