Critics, lawmaker blast Tenney’s support for federal health care replacement bill

Published May 15, 2017 at 4:00pm

NEW HARTFORD — Congresswoman Claudia L. Tenney’s vote for the American Health Care Act last week continues to reverberate with opponents of the replacement for what’s commonly called Obamacare.

Foes hoped to make Tenney aware of what they believe will be negative consequences under the legislation when they delivered special Mother’s Day cards to her district office on French Road. The card’s message said, in part, “Your vote to rip away health care to provide tax cuts to corporations is shameful and a betrayal to your constituents in CD (Congressional District) 22 and to millions of moms and grandmas everywhere.”

Friday afternoon’s event was organized by 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and Citizen Action of New York.

The bill, offered by Republicans in the House of Representatives as a replacement to the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, passed May 4 by a narrow margin of 217-213.

After the vote, Tenney, R-22, New Hartford, said in a statement that, “Although the American Health Care Act is not a perfect piece of legislation, it is the first step in a comprehensive process to bring choice, affordability, and quality back to health care.”

The Senate is expected to make changes in the controversial legislation when it takes up the bill.

On Thursday, Tenney held a news conference at her district office to highlight a section of the House bill. She said the Collins-Faso Amendment would relieve upstate counties from having to pay a share of the state’s Medicaid budget. This amendment would prohibit states from passing Medicaid costs to counties. For example, Oneida County sends about $1 million a week to Albany to pay for the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

“Our already strapped county governments are forced to divert $7.5 billion a year to support New York state’s Medicaid liability,” said Tenney. “If every other state in the nation can provide high-quality Medicaid services without passing the buck onto local governments, then so too can New York. The state Legislature and governor will simply have to work over a period of several years to review the state budget to responsibly reduce the unfair and unreasonable Medicaid liability that has been forced onto our counties.”

It was the second time that Tenney had held a news conference to talk up up the Collins-Faso Amendment. The first one was in March,when the House was posed to vote on overhauling Obamacare the first time. That vote was called off because the GOP did not have enough votes to pass the measure.

Later in the day, Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi, D-119, Utica, again called out Tenney for her support of American Health Care Act.

“Congresswoman Tenney should tell the truth about the plan she voted for, which is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme to fleece patients and New York hospitals,” he said in a statement. “Under the plan, preexisting conditions will create new hurdles for the sick; New York hospitals will suffer; and many people in this district could lose critical coverage.”

He criticized Tenney’s vote on May 5 as well.