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NYSNYS NEWS: Cuomo cheers failure of Obamacare repeal bill, calling deliberations a 'disgusting display.'
NYSNYS News
By Kyle Hughes
NYSNYS News


ALBANY, N.Y. (March 24) -- The failure of the push to repeal and replace Obamacare was cheered Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who rolled out doomsday scenarios all week about the chaos that would have resulted if the GOP succeeded in overturning the healthcare-for-all law.

Cuomo showed no inclination to dial back the rhetoric after plans for a vote on the bill were scrapped, calling the deliberations "a disgusting display of government at its worst."

"We saw members of Congress openly bribe one-another at the expense of their own constituents, racing each other to decimate New York’s healthcare system while attempting to ram through a piece of legislation that would jeopardize the healthcare of 24 million people and supported by only 17 percent of Americans," Cuomo said.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul accused her nemesis Rep. Chris Collins of bribery. Collins, an Erie County Republican, ended her one-term career in Congress in 2012, and drew the ire of Cuomo for proposing a state takeover of Medicaid costs now paid by the counties.

"Collins bribed New York Republican Congress members with the county bait and switch, selling the illusion of county tax relief at the cost of an explosion of state taxes or the bankruptcy of their hospitals and senior care," she said Friday. "Collins tried to play New Yorkers for fools, and while we know he is a financial fraudster, his latest insider trading scheme backfired and didn't outsmart the people of this state."

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also weighed in, saying the repeal bill "would have brought us back to the days when insurance companies could refuse to cover maternity care, and would have made health care much more expensive for families and seniors – all while giving huge tax breaks to insurance companies and drug companies. We should continue to work to improve our health care system, but this was a bad bill, and I'm glad it was stopped."

House Republicans and President Trump said Friday the failure to round up enough votes to get rid of Obamacare means the status quo will prevail for the foreseeable future. That's good news for New York government leaders who have embraced the law even as insurers have warned it is financially unsustainable.

It's also positive for the time being for New Yorkers who have obtained health insurance through the program, either as a result of Medicaid public assistance or purchasing coverage through the state run insurance marketplace.

The bill's failure removes a cloud over the upcoming 2017-18 state budget due to be passed by April 1. Some feared the budget adoption could be delayed, but that seems less likely now that the status quo is preserved for the state's healthcare system.

The debate threw some rare light on New York's costly Medicaid program, which spends more than $1 billion a week on care for the poor and aged. Cuomo has made controlling the growth of Medicaid costs a priority since taking office. New York spends far more per capita than any other state on the federal program.

Collins proposed relieving the counties of have to pay for a share of the program, a move that would likely prompt county property tax reductions. County executive from both parties have called for years for a state takeover, a plan also embraced by Cuomo's father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

But Andrew Cuomo portrayed a state takeover this week as a financial debacle, saying it would result in hospital closings and healthcare cutbacks because of the $2.3 billion cost. Cuomo said a state income tax increase would be the only way to cover it.

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