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A foolish add to bad health care bill

Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), who was a Congressional

Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), who was a Congressional district candidate at the time, talks with media members after voting in Kinderhook, N.Y., on Nov. 8, 2016. Credit: AP

Senate leaders say they will start fresh with their own version of the American Health Care Act. That would be wise, because the version House Speaker Paul Ryan passed to repeal and replace Obamacare is not only bad for the nation, it’s also disastrous for New York.

Two upstate representatives added a provision that they bet will benefit their region, at the expense of New York City and Long Island.

Republican Reps. Chris Collins of Clarence and John Faso of Kinderhook would bar New York State, and only our state, from making counties pay any share of Medicaid, despite 15 other states that have the same cost sharing. Collins and Faso didn’t include the other 15 because doing so could have cost the bill votes from GOP representatives in places where the burden of paying for all that Medicaid would have been shifted from counties to Republican-run states. It was only Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democratic governor, they were looking to skewer.

Collins and Faso, as well as Long Island’s Rep. Lee Zeldin, represent the change as a huge property tax cut for New Yorkers, but the bill does not require counties to cut taxes. In fact, it’s likely that counties running huge deficits, such as Nassau and Suffolk, wouldn’t lower taxes. But state taxes would rise, or benefits would be cut dramatically, especially for those who depend on Medicaid, many of them in nursing homes. The shortfall created by the Collins-Faso amendment for the state would be $2.3 billion a year.

The AHCA is projected to increase medical costs to New York State by $7 billion. Top to bottom, it’s a foolish measure that would threaten health care providers and workers in New York, as well as patients. But no part of it is more foolish, poorly thought out and nakedly political than the Collins-Faso amendment these politicians brought to their own state. — The editorial board

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