On Thursday, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act on a 217-213 vote. Several upstate New York Republicans supported the bill. Meanwhile, House Democrats and Planned Parenthood advocates are blasting it.
Republican Congressman John Faso of New York’s 19th District says the bill helps achieve insurance reform with lower premiums and lower deductibles along with Medicaid reforms to stem Medicaid spending.
“And also the provision that I authored and got in this legislation, which after 2020 will finally, after 50 years, end New York state’s practice of imposing a portion of its on local property taxpayers, and this is an extremely critical important piece of legislation for upstate New York,” Faso says.
He speaks of the Faso-Collins Amendment, with Buffalo-area Congressman Chris Collins, and shifting Medicaid costs from the counties to the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened to sue over the provision.
“His reaction is simply over the top,” says Faso. “The notion that by 2020 he can’t do what virtually what every other state does and not impose a portion of the state’s share of Medicaid on local homeowners and local small businesses is just simply absurd.
Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of the 18th District says the plan is so bad that he has spent weeks trying to figure out why anyone would support it. He talked about the bill during a telephone town hall earlier this week.
“So it’s been sloppy and it’s been slapdash the way they put it together, and I just think it’s the wrong way to go,” Maloney said. “And we know that it would result in 24 million Americans not having health insurance, tens of millions of people losing their coverage and millions losing it just in the first year or two. So there’s a better way to go is my approach, and I’m willing to work with the president or anybody to help fix Obamacare.”
Faso, meanwhile, says he does not support everything in the bill.
“Yeah, there are a couple of things that I don’t like and frankly I hope that the Senate changes some of the things. As you know, I had objected to the inclusion of the Planned Parenthood provision and I anticipate that will be changed in the Senate,” says Faso. “I also think that there are some important public health programs and funding for those programs that were in the ACA that I have supported and I would like to see those continued in some fashion.”
Maloney also told his telephone town hall callers:
“I just think it’s the wrong approach. I don’t think it will fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act, and there are some problems we need to fix and I’m willing to work across the aisle to do that,” Maloney says. “But this plan they have would defund Planned Parenthood, which I think is a good organization and helps our neighbors, it would take a whack out of Medicare and really hurt Medicaid.”
And it’s the punch to Medicaid that Robin Chappelle Golston fears. She is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.
“This would definitely have an impact on Planned Parenthood in regards to being able to see Medicaid patients. Over half or our patients are Medicaid. And so that would be a huge impact and definitely lead to unfortunately closing doors,” says Chappelle Golston. “It would have a huge impact on people receiving contraception, cancer screenings and any other women’s health services.”
She calls the bill a lose-lose.
“I think it’s horrible for women and it’s horrible for everyone,” Chappelle Golston says. “I mean, I cannot believe that they actually passed this bill because this is the worst piece of legislation probably in history in regards to actually being patient friendly and actually helping the American people. It’s almost like the opposite.”
The bill mandates insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, but, under certain circumstances, there could be a higher cost. Faso says New Yorkers would be unaffected due to state law. There have been misleading statements from both sides on this issue. Meanwhile, grassroots group NY 19 Votes plans to mobilize more than 400 canvassers across the 19th congressional district Sunday to speak with constituents about the bill. The group wants to increase voter turnout this year to build momentum to vote Faso, a freshman, out of office in 2018. The 19th is considered one of the nation’s swing districts.