Medicaid cuts would affect thousands of LI residents

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

In Washington, Senate Republicans are pushing hard on a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which could have a huge impact on Long Island.

President Donald Trump dedicated his weekly address to the issue of health care, insisting that the Republican Senate bill that would end "Obamacare" is on the verge of passage.

But without Democratic support, the path to passage is a narrow one. Senate Republicans can't afford to lose the support of more than two of their own members to pass the bill. So far, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky say they will vote against it.

The latest version of the bill would allow insurers to sell low-cost, watered-down policies. It also adds billions to combat opioid abuse. It retains significant cuts to Medicaid and keeps two separate Obama-era taxes on the wealthy. Progressives say the new bill is no better than the last one.

"This is really bad for Long Islanders. It's bad for the country," says Lisa Tyson, of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

Many in the health care industry say the cuts to Medicaid funding will force states to pare down coverage.

Even some Republicans who voted for the House version of the bill, such as Rep. Peter King, say they won't support the Senate bill.

"I would vote against Mitch McConnel's bill. That would be devastating to Long Island and to New York. It goes far beyond Obamacare. Some of the Medicaid cuts have nothing to do with Obamacare whatsoever," he says. 

Rep. King says he thinks Senate Republicans should shift gears and work to strike a compromise deal with Democrats. If Mitch McConnell and party leadership aren't able to get their latest proposal across the finish line, they may have little choice.

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