By Bill Parry
New York’s Democratic leadership is appalled at what President Donald Trump called “an unbelievable victory” after House Republicans narrowly passed legislation to repeal Obamacare Thursday.
Following the 217-213 vote, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) labeled the measure a “merciless bill” that will be disastrous for the nation’s health and especially harmful to New York.
“We know that this bill will rip away health coverage from at least 24 million Americans, including 2.7 million New Yorkers, impose a crushing age tax on people between the ages of 50 and 64, and gut protections for pre-existing conditions,” Maloney said. “We know that Planned Parenthood will be defunded and that women will lose coverage for maternity care and preventive cancer screenings. We also know this bill is especially cruel to New York. Our state will lose $7 billion in federal funding, which will force hospitals to close their doors or cut services as our most vulnerable lose their health care.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed ultraconservatives in Washington for pushing the “unconscionable” piece of legislation that “threatens to tear apart” the health care system.
“Sadly, some representatives in New York have sold their vote and turned their backs on the very constituents they represent,” Cuomo said. “This bill is a targeted assault against our values, punishing New Yorkers because we support women’s reproductive rights and including the Collins/Faso amendment which would devastate the state’s health care industry, put millions of New Yorkers at risk, and increase the total cost of this bill on New York to $6.9 billion.”
Sate Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said The American Health Care Act is unfortunate and beyond logic.
“We should not be playing politics with people’s lives, and this move by the Republicans does exactly that. President Trump promised to eliminate Obama’s healthcare bill, and sadly his Republican allies just handed him this tragic victory,” Peralta said. “A modern society should be moving forward, but the Republican-controlled Congress chose to go backwards. This definitely puts an end to affordable healthcare for hard-working families. It is unacceptable that millions and millions of Americans will lose their healthcare coverage because of this, should the legislation have the votes to pass the Senate.”
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman labeled the legislation as unconstitutional in several critical respects and he stands ready to challenge it in court if it ultimately signed into law. The bill heads to the U.S. Senate where Republicans enjoy a slimmer majority than the one they hold in the House of Representatives.
“This bill is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said. “Rather than trying to pass a different version of the same Trumpcare bill that would mean higher costs and less care, Senate Republicans should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject repeal, and work with Democrats to improve our healthcare system in a bipartisan way.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr