GOP health care plan could cost N.Y. billions

ALBANY - The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act could cost New York and its counties more than $4.5 billion over the next four years, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration.

A report Thursday from the state Department of Health found about 1 million state residents would see a "significant" reduction or loss of their health coverage under the House Republicans' health care plan.

Changes to reimbursement rates for Medicaid would cost the state billions in federal funding, starting with $240 million in the state's next fiscal year and ramping up to $2.4 billion by 2021, according to the state's report.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has been an outspoken supporter of the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.
House Republicans earlier this week released their own plan, known as the American Health Care Act. It has support from President Donald Trump.

The governor called the GOP plan "inadequate, ill-conceived and unacceptable."

"New York’s entire delegation – Democrats and Republicans – need to stand up and they need to fight, stand against this regressive plan and protect the people they are sworn to represent," Cuomo said in a statement.

"There is no going back."

The House GOP's bill makes significant changes to Obamacare, including a freeze on the Medicaid expansion program beginning in 2020.

It would cap federal Medicaid reimbursements to states, replacing the current open-ended system.

According to the Health Department, the plan would also end the state's Essential Plan, which offers low-cost coverage for health care basics. The Essential Plan, which the state began offering last year, is heavily subsidized by the federal government.

As of January, more than 665,000 New York residents were enrolled in the Essential Plan -- among more than 3 million who have insurance through New York's health exchange, called the NY State of Health.

The majority of New Yorkers in the exchange are on Medicaid, the health-insurance program for the poor and disabled.

Trump and Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal Obamacare, which the GOP has long railed against.

The GOP plan would repeal penalties on Americans who don't have health coverage. It would maintain provisions that allow those under 26 to remain on their parents' health plans and prevent insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called it a "comprehensive strategy" to repeal Obamacare and "replace it with something more effective."

"The president will continue to engage very actively with the House and the Senate to get this done," Spicer said.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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