Local lawmakers weigh in on Senate GOP healthcare bill

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Senate Republicans have rolled out their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, following several closed-door sessions.

Four Republican Senators say they’re not ready to vote for the GOP healthcare bill, putting the measure in jeopardy.

The plan has been met with criticism from Democrats.

The Senate health care plan eliminates the individual mandate forcing people to buy health insurance as well as some ACA taxes. It also makes cuts to Medicaid payments and keeps some protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Senate minority leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that millions will lose health insurance if the bill is passed.

“This is a bill designed to strip away health care benefits and protections from Americans who need it most, in order to give a tax break to the folks who need it least,” Schumer said.

The bill would require New York State to pick up the county share of Medicaid costs. Co-authored by Congressman Chris Collins on the house side, the Medicaid piece is designed to alleviate the property tax burden in counties across the state.

Collins called the Medicaid piece “the most significant budget move for counties ever” and said that it would fix and stabilize county finances for the next 50 years.

 

Republican Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw called the Senate GOP plan “historic legislation” that would benefit taxpayers.

He’s asking county lawmakers to ensure any Medicaid savings would be used for property tax cuts and road improvements.

“We want the process started now so that we can pass legislation to make sure that there are very specific parameters of how we manage this $200 million windfall,” Mychajliw said. “It should go back to the people who paid the bill.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement Thursday saying that the bill targets New York and threatens to slash an additional $2.3 billion in Medicaid funding, leading to cuts to hospitals, nursing homes, and home care providers.

Congressman Brian Higgins (D-26) called the Senate GOP’s plan a “pay more for less” plan.

“Much like the House Republican healthcare bill, this is a repulsive scam perpetrated against the American people,” Higgins said.

The non-partisan Congressional budget office is expected to send Congress its score showing how much the plan will cost on Monday.

Republican leaders are pushing to hold a vote on the legislation before lawmakers leave for the July 4 recess.

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