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Photo courtesy of the Long Island Press
Photo courtesy of the Long Island Press

Every member of Congress representing Queens has urged incoming President Donald Trump not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), charging that it would cause millions of New Yorkers to lose their health insurance.

Trump will be sworn into office at noon on Friday, Jan. 20, but two days earlier, 17 members of the New York State Congressional delegation appealed to the Queens native’s roots in a letter warning him of the potential consequences of Obamacare’s demise.

 

More than 20 million people nationwide have insurance coverage through provisions in the Affordable Care Act, but Congressional Republicans have made repealing the law a top priority this session. With a Republican taking office in the White House, the prospects of ending Obamacare are greater than ever, but many are concerned about what — if anything — would replace it.

“Repealing the ACA would put New York seniors in danger of paying nearly $1,200 more for prescription drugs,” Congressman Gregory Meeks said in a statement. “Medicaid recipients could lose out on expanded assistance. Those with pre-existing conditions would once again be scrambling to find an insurance company who [sic] would accept them. These are just some of the folks who have benefited greatly from the ACA and are now at risk of having these very benefits stripped from them.”

A study released by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office indicated that more than 2.7 million New Yorkers — including nearly 500,000 in Queens alone — would lose their health insurance coverage if Obamacare is repealed. The state budget could also take a hit in excess of $3 billion as a result of reduced Medicaid funding. New Yorkers would also lose a combined $250 million in tax credits used to help them afford their own health insurance.

“From Manhattan to Massena, New Yorkers reject this starkly ideological plan to repeal the ACA that would throw our entire health care system into disarray and not solve the real problems that families face,” the 17 New York Congress members wrote to Trump. Meeks signed the letter along with Congressmen Joe Crowley, Tom Suozzi and Hakeem Jeffries and Congresswomen Grace Meng, Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney.

Meng and Velazquez also announced this week they would not attend Trump’s inauguration due to his recent comments about Georgia Congressman John Lewis that sought to diminish the civil rights icon’s work.

“While we acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, we will not stand idly by as you inflict a great wound on the people of New York we are sworn to represent and protect,” the New York Congressional letter concluded. “We implore you to stop playing politics with the lives of our constituents and stop efforts to repeal this life-saving law.”

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