Cuomo: Congressional Republicans ‘at war’ with New York State’s healthcare

March 21, 2017 07:01 PM

A battle has erupted between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Congressional Republicans, whom he says have declared war on New York.

The ammunition is a GOP plan, co-sponsored by Congressman John Faso, changing who pays for Medicaid.

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The changes come as President Trump went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, telling Republicans it's time to keep their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"Everybody running for Congress in the House, everybody running for Senate, the president himself said to the American people you give us this chance, this responsibility this opportunity, with a Republican president and Republican Senate and a Republican House and we will repeal and replace Obamacare. We are using the tools we have to do that," explained House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The amendment crafted by Congressmen John Faso and Chris Collins from Erie County only affects New York State. Under it, counties would no longer be required to fund Medicaid.

Right now, the feds cover 50 percent of that cost, the state 25 percent and counties the other 25 percent.

Faso says by absolving counties of that burden, property taxes could be cut.

However, Governor Cuomo says on top of proposed federal budget cuts, this amendment will devastate the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

"My greatest fear from last year's election has actually come true, which is that would you have a rabid, Conservative ideology in Washington that would tell New York to drop dead,” began Cuomo.

WEB EXTRA: Gov. Cuomo discusses displeasure of health coverage amendment

Cuomo and the health care executives who joined him cited the impact on New York from proposed federal budget cuts to the effect of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. 

However, Cuomo took special aim at an amendment proposed by two New York Congressman, John Faso and Chris Collins. It only applies to New York. It shifts all responsibility for paying Medicaid from counties to the state.

"There is no fairy that is going to float down and hand over $2.3 billion to make up the shortfall that the counties left,” Cuomo noted.

Cuomo contends the budget cuts and Medicaid shift will result in hospital and nursing home closures and cut as many jobs in New York as were created over the past five to six years.

While Democrats like Albany Assemblywoman Pat Fahy and Senator Neil Breslin agree with Cuomo, Republican Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino applauds the amendment. She says it finally addresses New York's high property taxes.

"If we could lower those property taxes, then New York State, which pays some of the highest property taxes in the nation, would be more competitive with other states for businesses for families,” noted Jimino.

To some extent, Jimino's position is supported by Assemblyman John McDonald. The one time Democratic mayor of Cohoes, sees merit in the amendment but questions the approach.

"There's many of us who always wanted to help take that burden off the counties, but we want to do it on our own terms. We want to do it the right way. We want to do it in a meaningful way and not be having it forced down from the federal government,” explained McDonald.

NewsChannel 13 spoke with Congressman Faso Tuesday afternoon. He said the basis of this amendment was part of his campaign pledge.

"New York should do what 49 other states do, which is not impose this level of burden on the property tax to pay for Medicaid,” explained Faso.

"In Rensselaer County alone, if the Medicaid was not paid on the property tax basis, we could cut county property taxes by 54 percent, which would be a huge benefit to businesses and families alike," explained Jimino.

Faso says this cost shift is the ultimate in government consolidation, something the governor has called for.

"The governor just simply can't seem to live up to the fact that most governors are able to run their Medicaid program without burdening property taxpayers." Faso adds New York would have enough time to plan, reform and fix New York's Medicaid system, which the state Division of Budget expects to cover more than 6.4 million New Yorkers by year's end.

NewsChannel 13 will keep an eye on the Faso amendment.


Benita Zahn

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