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Cuomo meets with Trump, talks health care, infrastructure

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, accompanied by

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, accompanied by his chief of staff Melissa DeRosa, left, speaks to members of the media after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Photo Credit: AP / Andrew Harnik

President-elect Donald Trump and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo met at Trump Tower Wednesday morning, where Cuomo made his pitch for the state to receive federal infrastructure dollars for state projects and voiced concerns about Republican-led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Many of the issues that are being discussed in Washington would have a profound effect on New York. Not just New York, but all big states across the country,” Cuomo told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower after the meeting. “I wanted to make sure that he was aware of the impact on places like New York.”

Cuomo said he told Trump, New York is “ready to build” and needs the federal government to back massive infrastructure projects including upgrades to LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.

“If he wants to put some federal money to use and put federal money to use quickly, this is the state to do it,” Cuomo told reporters.

The governor, who has been critical of Trump’s plans to repeal the Obama administration’s health care plan, said he wanted to give Trump the state’s “perspective” on the possible implications of such a repeal. The Cuomo administration has projected eliminating the Affordable Care Act would cost the state $3.7 billion, and would put 2.7 million New Yorkers at risk of losing health care coverage.

“That’s 3 million families,” Cuomo said. “It would have a dramatic impact on the state.”

Asked about Trump’s reaction, Cuomo replied: “He’s a New Yorker, and my sense is that he understood exactly what I was saying, and the magnitude of what I was saying. Three million uninsured people would be a problem.”

Cuomo said his impression was that Trump was “knowledgeable about the issues on the Affordable Care Act,” adding that Trump’s “been briefed on the federal side -- I wanted to make sure he had the New York state perspective . . . as he’s considering those federal issues.”

Trump in an interview with Fox News Wednesday morning said his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would address providing coverage for people “that can’t afford it.”

“We’re going to have a plan that’s going to be great for people,” Trump said in the interview that was pre-taped Tuesday at Trump Tower. “It’s going to be much less expensive, and you will be able to actually have something to say about who your doctor is and your plan. We have to cover people that can’t afford it. And that’s what I’m talking about. And we’ll probably have block grants of Medicaid back into the states . . . Nobody is going to be dying on the streets with a President Trump.”

Asked by Fox News correspondent Ainsley Earhardt how he planned to pay for those unable to afford private insurance, Trump responded, “Well, you watch.”

“We’re going to get private insurance companies to take care of a lot of the people that can afford it,” Trump said. “That’s going to take a tremendous burden off and they’re going to be able to have plans that are great plans. So it’s very important.”

Cuomo, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Clinton administration, said he also spoke to Trump about addressing “record” high homelessness in New York City.

The governor, who campaigned on behalf of Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton last year, said he did not plan to attend Trump’s inauguration in Washington because “I get paid to work in New York, and I’ll be working in New York.

Both Trump and Cuomo were born in Queens. Asked by a reporter if their conversation was “adversarial” or just “two Queens boys chewing the fat,” Cuomo said it was not adversarial.

“I don’t know about two Queens boys chewing the fat . . . we may be two people with Queens accents but we never chewed the fat,” Cuomo said.


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