ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced emergency regulations aimed at reassuring New Yorkers they are protected by Obamacare even as Republicans in Washington seek to replace it.
Cuomo said New York’s health care exchanges created under Obamacare will continue to cover abortions, contraception and people with pre-existing medical conditions and will ban companies that refuse.
“We will not stand idly by as ultraconservatives in Washington try to roll back the progress we have made to expand access quality, affordable health care, putting our most vulnerable New Yorkers at risk,” Cuomo said in a statement announcing the regulations.
Republican President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress have promised to replace the Affordable Care Act enacted under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
Republicans say Obamacare is too costly to employers and to individuals who have seen spikes in premiums. They also oppose the tax that Americans must pay if they refuse to secure health insurance.
The independent Congressional Budget Office has projected that the Republican proposal would force 14 million to lose health insurance next year at a rate that will mean 23 million Americans will lose health care by 2026. The proposal faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“Millions of New Yorkers’ health insurance is at risk due to the antics of the Trump administration and it is important for the governor to step up and say he will figure out a way to protect peoples’ health insurance,” said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.
But the New York Health Plan Association that represents health care plans for more than 7 million New Yorkers questioned Cuomo’s use of an emergency measure because most, if not all, of his initiatives already are in state law.
“In many ways, the governor’s press release has the potential to create more uncertainty for plans than the uncertainty of the proposals being discussed in Washington,” said Paul Macielak, the association’s president and CEO.
“There are issues about the legality and timing of the directive to ban plans that don’t participate on the exchange . . . and the impact it might have on the overall marketplace in New York,” he said.