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De Blasio to Obamacare supporters: Don’t give up the fight

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at a Manhattan

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at a Manhattan health care rally on July 17, 2017. Photo Credit: David Handschuh

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a Queens community health center on Tuesday, warned supporters of the Affordable Care Act that the fight to maintain the plan “ain’t over,” despite a failed bid by Senate Republicans to replace it.

A day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced he lacked support needed to pass a GOP-led bill that would shutter President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, de Blasio said those in favor of keeping the country’s existing health plan should not “be popping any champagne bottle corks” just yet.

“We’ve got to be clear this is still a very live situation in Washington . . . this ballgame ain’t over,” de Blasio said at a news conference outside the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in Flushing. “There’s no reason to think this fight is over.”

De Blasio’s stop at the health center came on his second day working from Queens as part of the “City Hall in Your Borough” initiative. At the event, de Blasio, joined by his wife, Chirlane McCray, announced the city would contribute $1 million toward the creation of a $65 million new community health center in Flushing called Healthview.

The Healthview center will have the capacity to serve some 25,000 low-income residents and employ 140 workers, de Blasio said. The facility will be operated by the Wang center, a nonprofit health organization that operates five similar public health clinics throughout the city.

De Blasio, a staunch critic of Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, said the Healthview project provided a “contrast” between the city’s efforts to expand access to health care to low-income residents and “what’s happening in Washington,” where GOP proposals have called for scaling back Medicaid, the federal health insurance program that provides coverage to low-income Americans.

“The more health care that’s available, the closer it is to the grass roots the better,” de Blasio said.

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