Gov. Cuomo: New health bill would hurt New Yorkers

ALBANY (AP) — Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday decried the Republican’s health care bill as an “assault on New York,” saying the federal legislation would deprive 2.7 million state residents of coverage and undermine Medicaid funding.

The bill passed the House on Thursday and headed to the Senate, where top Democrats in New York hope it dies.

According to state estimates, the bill would cost the state as much as $6.9 billion in Medicaid funding, reducing support for hospitals, nursing homes and 7 million New Yorkers who rely on the program for health care.

“They’re trying to gut Medicaid,” Cuomo said at an organized labor event in New York City. “They’re trying to put our hospitals out of business.”

One provision in the bill pushed by New York GOP Congressmen John Faso and Chris Collins would end payments from counties outside New York City to help cover the state’s Medicaid costs. The state could pick up those costs, an estimated $2.3 billion, but Cuomo said that could raise the prospects of tax increases and significant cuts in health services.

Faso said in a statement after the bill passed that it is needed to address growing problems with the Affordable Care Act. He touted the provision ending county contributions, saying it would lead to lower local property taxes.

“New York’s Medicaid spending dwarfs that of most other states,” including Texas and Florida combined, he said. “The provision I authored will bring much-needed property tax relief and keep people and jobs in upstate New York.”

But state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, is hoping the bill will be snuffed out it moves through Congress.

“We must now all call upon the United States Senate to do what is right,” he said.

By Patricia Older

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