Bay Ridge

Brooklyn House members talk about Trumpcare fallout

May 5, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
President Donald Trump smiles at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) after the House pushed through a health care bill, in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 4, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Brooklyn’s entire House delegation voted against the Republican-led bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but members were citing different reasons for their vote as the fallout over Trumpcare intensified.

Following the 217-213 vote on Thursday in favor of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that essentially strips the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) of many of its provisions, including the individual mandate, Brooklyn lawmakers spoke out strongly against the legislation.

Rep. Dan Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island), the only Republican in New York City’s congressional delegation, said the AHCA would hurt families in his district in the pocketbook.

“The relief needed for local families is not in this bill. The plan would cost seniors more for health care at a time in their lives when incomes are limited and they need health care the most. My constituents would also be unable to use the bill’s tax credits because of New York’s rules on insurance coverage,” Donovan said in a statement. 

Despite Donovan’s vote against the bill, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) said it plans to target him along with other Republicans, leading up to the midterm elections in 2018.

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján issued a statement in which he pointed out that although Donovan voted against the AHCA, he voted in January to bring a bill forward to the floor of the House.

“There is no question that this bill will cause incredible pain for hard-working Americans, particularly those fighting to make ends meet, and Representative Donovan’s role in this health care repeal will haunt him through Election Day,” Luján stated.

The AHCA’s would stop states from expanding Medicaid. In addition, the bill would allow insurance companies to charge older people more for insurance and penalize people who lose their coverage and then try to purchase a new policy. Insurers would still be obligated to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions, but states could opt out of that rule.

In the days after the vote, Democrats were angrily blasting the AHCA.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan-Bensonhurst) said Republican House members voted to approve the AHCA without understanding what was in it.

“They are pushing this bill through without any analysis so that the American people won’t know how terrible this bill really is — how many millions of people will lose their health insurance, how much premiums will skyrocket for those with pre-existing conditions, how little money they will actually save,” Nadler said in a statement.

The AHCA will be a disaster for families if it eventually becomes law, according to Nadler.

“The bill will kick 24 million people off their health insurance and eliminate employer-provided coverage for 7 million people. The bill creates an ‘age tax’ that would allow insurers to charge older Americans five times as much as a younger person for the same plan. The bill raises premiums 30 percent for people who allow their insurance to lapse for any reason. The bill cuts $880 billion out of Medicaid and forces states to ration care to the millions of families and children who rely on it, in clear violation of Donald Trump’s campaign pledge,” Nadler stated.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Canarsie-Sheepshead Bay-Coney Island) charged that the system is rigged. “The fix is in. The deck is stacked against hard-working Americans. Under TrumpCare, 24 million Americans will lose access to health insurance. Under TrumpCare, costs will go up, premiums will go up, co-pays will go up, deductibles will go up. Under TrumpCare, tens of millions of Americans who are living with pre-existing conditions will be screwed,” he said.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn) advised her Twitter followers that the AHCA still has a long way to go. The legislation will next be considered by the Senate, which is likely to make major changes to it.

In a tweet, Clarke also expressed confidence that New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand will continue the fight against the bill. “This isn’t over,” she wrote.

Schumer released a statement after vote predicting that the outcome in the Senate will be different.

“This bill is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate. Rather than trying to pass a different version of the same Trumpcare bill that would mean higher costs and less care, Senate Republicans should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject repeal and work with Democrats to improve our health care system in a bipartisan way,” he stated.