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Brooklyn & NYC pols trash failed GOP health care bill

AHCA: 'A disgusting display of government at its worst'

March 25, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
President Donald Trump blamed Democrats for the failure of the Republican American Care Act health bill on Friday. AP file photo by Evan Vucci
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After Republicans abandoned the vote on their much-scorned American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Friday, Brooklyn and other New York officials — most of them Democrats — weighed in with statements castigating the failed bill and warning that they would remain vigilant going forward.

“From the beginning, TrumpCare was a bad piece of legislation that would have ripped away healthcare from 24 million Americans, imposed an age tax on older healthcare recipients and removed many essential health services from insurance plans,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, who has been a vocal opponent of the bill. 

“The American people made clear that they opposed this bill by wide margins and I am relieved this measure was stopped in its tracks,” she said.

Velázquez said that she hoped that the Trump administration and Republican leadership would work with Democrats going forward, but warned that Democrats weren’t going to be pushovers.

“If Republicans continue a go-it-alone, slash-and-burn approach to legislation, I suspect they will see this same result frequently in the future,” she said.

Taking their cue from statements made by President Donald Trump, many fear that the administration will attempt to cripple the current Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) legislatively in an attempt to cause it to implode.

“Moving forward, we must work together to ensure that the law of the land remains intact,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said. “The ACA [Affordable Care Act] is the law of the land. We must remain vigilant against any future attempts to strip away health care for Brooklynites, New Yorkers, and all Americans.”

Adams said that more than 540,000 Brooklynites would have lost their health care coverage under the defeated plan.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) listed the essential protections the Republican bill would have stripped from Americans, including maternity care and prescription drug coverage, and said that the fight was “far from over.”

She warned, “Many of the Republicans who opposed this bill did so because it didn’t go far enough in cutting benefits and health protections.”

Brooklyn’s rare Republican, Rep. Dan Donovan (South Brooklyn, Staten Island), who had recently announced that he would not be supporting the health care bill, chose to focus on the future of Speaker Paul Ryan.

“The votes weren’t there on this one, but Speaker Ryan remains a courageous leader. It’s a privilege to serve in Congress with him at the helm, and I look forward to working with him on future components of the Republican agenda,” Donovan said.

“Although likely only a temporary stopgap, over 20 million citizens who found healthcare coverage under the original law – many representing vulnerable communities of color or advanced age – will maintain their insurance for another day,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

She added, “If the goal of years of protestation from the right has been to provide a functional healthcare plan for all, then it is well-past time to prove it – and I look forward to seeing those in Washington, D.C. and Albany do just that.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio was caustic in his reaction to the bill’s failure.

“When President Trump was elected, it was a foregone conclusion that the new president and his Republican Congress would immediately throw millions of people off their health insurance. But a grassroots movement made up of millions of Americans standing together stopped that from happening,” de Blasio said.

He added, “While the fight is far from over, Obamacare repeal efforts are now on life support as the law continues to keep Americans alive.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo went straight for the jugular.

“This week, Washington showed the people of this nation a disgusting display of government at its worst,” he said. “We saw members of Congress openly bribe one-another at the expense of their own constituents, racing each other to decimate New York’s healthcare system while attempting to ram through a piece of legislation that would jeopardize the healthcare of 24 million people and supported by only 17 percent of Americans,” Cuomo said.

“Republicans leadership may have counted on the complexity of the issue to confuse the debate, but at the end of the day it’s actually quite simple,” he added. “This Congress tried to play the people of this nation for a fool – they were wrong, and they lost.”

In an interview late Friday, Trump told the Washington Post, “Hey, we could have done this. But we couldn’t get one Democrat vote, not one.”

 


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