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LI reps should vote no on health care bill

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) uses charts and

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) uses charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act during a news conference earlier this month on Capitol Hill. Credit: AP / J. Scott Applewhite

The American Health Care Act, the Republican ACA-repeal bill now before Congress, would have a devastating effect on New York State, health care providers and individuals in our region. It is at our own peril that we ignore the implications that exist for many individuals in our communities.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the bill. If it becomes law, CBO concluded, it would lead 14 million Americans to lose their health coverage in the first year. In 10 years, that total would climb to 24 million newly uninsured.

In New York, the legislation would result in 1 million state residents losing insurance coverage. Countless others, particularly those near age 65, would experience profound increases in the cost of their health insurance. Among these hurt would be our friends and neighbors.

The bill also would dramatically reduce federal support for our state’s Medicaid program by putting in place permanent caps on federal funding — leaving it up to the state to support enrollment increases when troubled times hit. It is important for us to be aware that 70 percent of Medicaid spending in New York is for the care of the elderly, many of whom are in nursing homes, and the developmentally disabled in our communities.

The bill would cut $4.5 billion of federal support for the state’s Medicaid program over the next four years. Such reductions would likely result in a combination of diminished services and increased taxes.

Hospitals and health systems would be doubly damaged by the effect of fewer insured patients in addition to other funding reductions. Many health care providers in our region, the largest employer in many communities, already have fragile financial situations that would be worsened by this bill.

Supporters of this bill urge that it would allow individuals to have access to buying insurance, as an end in and of itself. We believe a more important measure of good and meaningful policy for all Americans would be their having not just the opportunity to buy insurance, but to be able to afford meaningful health insurance coverage that ensures access to quality health care services. True coverage matters.

In summary, it is not an exaggeration to say that insurance for millions, stability of health care providers, jobs losses, and higher taxes are among the outcomes that would follow implementation of this bill.

Collectively, we urge Reps. Peter King, Gregory Meeks, Kathleen Rice, Thomas Suozzi and Lee Zeldin to protect health care coverage in New York and vote “no” on the AHCA bill.

 

Stephen Bello, Long Island Jewish Valley Stream

Alessandro Bellucci, MD North Shore University Hospital

Gerard X. Brogan, MD, Huntington Hospital

Robert S. Chaloner, Southampton Hospital

Paul J. Connor, III, Eastern Long Island Hospital

Michael Fener, Plainview Hospital & Syosset Hospital

Alan Guerci, MD, Catholic Health Services of Long Island

Susan Kwiatek, Glen Cove Hospital

Richard T. Margulis, Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center

Andrew Mitchell, Peconic Bay Medical Center

Donna Moravick, Southside Hospital

Richard J. Murphy, South Nassau Communities Hospital

Lenny Nartowicz, South Oaks Hospital

L. Reuven Pasternak, MD, Stony Brook University Hospital

Sharon Norton Remmer, Healthcare Trustees of New York State

Kenneth D. Roberts, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital

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