WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and House leaders are revving up pressure on balky Conservatives and other Republican lawmakers as crunch time approaches on the party’s health care overhaul bill, a drive GOP leaders concede they can’t afford to lose.
The House plans to vote on the American Health Care Act Thursday, and in advance on Wednesday, President Trump was expected to continue pushing for support of what would be a significant achievement for his young presidency.
But underscoring the bill’s uncertain fate, a senior administration official said that 20 to 25 House Republicans remained opposed or undecided. That’s a grave figure since united Democratic opposition means the measure crashes if 22 GOP lawmakers vote “no.”
Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress says he’s on board with the GOP proposed American Health Care Act and thinks it will have enough votes to pass the House. Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) told reporters during a Tuesday conference call that he believes there will be enough votes to pass the bill, despite reports that some GOP lawmakers may be on the fence.
“I believe they’re moving in the right direction to support this legislation. They see the improvements that have been made and I believe they also recognize the promise that’s been campaigned upon for year,” Reed said. “it’s no secret across America that we as a Republican conference, to a T, support the repeal of Obamacare and moving forward with replacement policies that are going to empower people and patients and doctors. So this is the first step in that process and that promise they recognize and is where we’ll come down on Thursday.”
Late Monday night House leaders put forward a series of final amendments to the bill, which Reed said strengthens the GOP plan. Reed also said he was especially in favor of the Collins Amendment (or the Faso-Collins Amendment). The name(s) comes from Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso, upstate Republicans who are behind this push to shift the local cost of Medicaid from Upstate and Long-Island counties to the state.
“The one I like best is the inclusion of that relief directly to our property tax payers across the district, when it comes to that county tax levy burden that medicaid puts on them from Albany. So from my perspective that was the top priority as we went through this process,” Reed said.
According to state officials, the cost of such a shift would be $2.3 billion in lost Medicaid payments from local governments, if and when it takes effect in 2020, assuming of course the legislation passes both houses of Congress in its current form.
As a result, state leaders say the amendment will have a severe negative effect on local hospitals and nursing homes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said 2.7 million New Yorkers would face substantial loss in their current health care coverage while the quality and availability of health services across the state would be jeopardized. The reduction in Medicaid spending will have a significant impact on funding for nursing homes, home care, and hospitals, putting 7 million New Yorkers at risk according to the Democratic governor.
COUNTY LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT COLLINS AMENDMENT
The Collins Amendment is also apparently good news to a group of local lawmakers. During Wednesday’s Chautauqua County Legislature meeting, a motion of support for the amendment will be up for a vote. The motion has 10 sponsors, enough to ensure its approval.
When added to the $4.5 billion cost of the ACHA over the next four years, Cuomo indicated that the total cost to the State would rise to $6.9 billion.