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Cuomo: NY will sue federal government if GOP repeals Obamacare

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced plans on July 17, 2017 to sue the federal government if the Senate Republican health care bill passes into law. They pledged to sue at a rally in Manhattan also attended by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Credit: Newsday / Laura Figueroa)

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman vowed on Monday to sue the federal government if Republican health care bills being weighed by Congress become law.

Cuomo and Schneiderman made the pledge at a boisterous rally in Manhattan that also featured speeches from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. All of the top Democrats on hand denounced the Trump administration’s push to repeal and replace the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

“We’re going to stand up with our attorney general, our lawyer for the state of New York, and we’re going to sue the federal government,” Cuomo said of the state’s response if either version of the House or Senate Republican health care bills were signed into law.

Cuomo’s remarks were met by loud cheers from hundreds of members of local SEIU 1199 and the New York State Nurses Association union who crowded into an auditorium on the campus of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Schneiderman called the Republican health care proposals “unconstitutional” and accused Republican lawmakers of putting “ideology ahead of evidence.”

“This week we begin the process of sending this disgusting anti-health care bill on a one-way trip to the trash heap of history,” Schneiderman said.

The GOP health care bills were unconstitutional in part because they would defund Planned Parenthood — the nonprofit that provides birth control and other health services to women, Schneiderman said. Defunding Planned Parenthood would “create an undue burden on women’s fundamental constitutional right to reproductive health care, while placing unconstitutional conditions on federal dollars that fund vital services like breast cancer screenings, STD tests and more,” Schneiderman said.

De Blasio, in a rare joint appearance with Cuomo, said it was “absolutely important” that those opposed to the plan stand “shoulder to shoulder” in voicing their concerns.

“This is not a health care bill,” de Blasio said. “This is a wealth care bill . . . this bill is about giving tax cuts to the wealthy.”

President Donald Trump, talking to reporters Monday at the White House, continued to press GOP lawmakers to pass the Senate Republican health care proposal calling it “something that is going to be outstanding” and “far, far better than failing Obamacare.”

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