New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney invited three of his constituents to his district office in Newburgh Monday to talk about how the Republican House bill to repeal Obamacare would affect them. And Maloney is headed to the neighboring 19th District tonight to attend a health care town hall. It’s part of his Adopt a District effort.
Maloney, a Democrat who represents the 18th District, said he wanted to share personal stories behind the facts and figures. Warwick resident Frank Petrucci was diagnosed in 2015 with CIDP, or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a neurological disorder.
“I’m scared of it having it be more difficult to get IVIG, which is this drug that allows me to maintain my ability. It reverses the symptoms of my disorder, and it allows me to be functioning,” Petrucci says. “If I can’t have the immunoglobulin, I’ll deteriorate. I’ll lose ability, I’ll lose function. I’ll lose my ability to pick up a fork and feed myself. That’s scary.”
The 28-year-old rowing coach says the drug he needs is covered by Medicaid. And he fears that cuts to Medicaid in the American Health Care Act could block his access to a drug that runs some $50,000 per treatment. House Republicans passed the Act Thursday by a razor thin margin. New Windsor resident Theresa Bauer says she was born with bone deformities in her legs.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, and I feel like I’m being punished for the way I was born and that, throughout my life, no matter how hard I worked to do what I needed to do to take care of myself and my kids, that I am now being punished,” Bauer says.
She alleges the GOP health care bill discriminates against people with pre-existing conditions and disabilities. Here’s Maloney.
“And we ought not to go back to the battle days when people with pre-existing conditions could be left out. We ought not to corral them into some high-risk pool that’s going to stink and give them substandard health care. And we shouldn’t be running over veterans and we shouldn’t be threatening our efforts against the opioid epidemic. And we shouldn’t be blowing a hole in the budget of the state of New York. For what? To give $600 billion in tax cuts to the very richest,” Maloney says. “I mean, honestly, I have never seen anything this bad since I have been in public life, and I hope I never see anything this bad again.”
Maloney is calling on the Senate to reject the bill. Andrea McKenna’s 8-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a genetic abnormality and autism at age 1.
“I’ve written to U.S. Congressman John Faso in the 19th District, who made the horrifying and reprehensible decision to vote yes to this health care bill,” McKenna says. “Although I don’t live in John Faso’s district, my daughter attends school in one of the five special needs schools located in his district. These are schools that rely on Medicaid to provide services to their students. One-hundred percent of their students are children with disabilities.”
McKenna lives in Maloney’s district but says she feels she has to fight for her beliefs beyond district borders. Republican Congressman Faso has said though there are a few things he does not like in the bill, overall, it helps achieve insurance reform. Tonight, Maloney will head into Faso’s district to speak at a health care town hall meeting hosted by IndivisibleNY19 in Kingston. It comes after Maloney issued a nationwide Adopt a District challenge Friday.
“But I think the people in the 19th congressional district and every other district where a Republican who supports Trumpcare won’t answer simple questions or do a town hall, I think those people deserve to have a member of Congress show up and tell them what’s in this bill,” says Maloney. “And if he won’t do it, I will.”
Faso spokeswoman Courtney Weaver says the congressman has a previously scheduled event and that his office did not receive an invitation to attend the town hall. Weaver says, “This is a purely partisan political rally. Just two weeks ago at the Pattern for Progress event at Marist College, both Representatives Faso and Maloney pledged bipartisan cooperation on issues of concern affecting their districts. Now Maloney has reverted to form as a hyper partisan seeking to advance himself in the eyes of his patrons in Albany and Washington.” Again, Maloney, on his Adopt A District challenge.
“It’s highly unusual, I’ll grant you that. It’s highly unusual,” Maloney says. “But I think this is an unusual time. And we’re dealing with real people who are facing real problems. And so if we have to crack a few eggs and break a little china to do that, well, fine.”
Tonight’s health care town hall begins at 6:30 at the Senate Garage in Kingston.