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Congressman Collins at center of fight over new health care law

Posted at 6:18 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 18:18:16-04

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday Republican lawmakers in Washington “declared war on New York and this is just the beginning”.  He was referring to the new American Healthcare Act and, specifically, an amendment included in the current version from Congressman Chris Collins of Western New York.

The amendment changes the way New York State would pay for Medicaid.  Right now, counties across the state contribute billions of dollars to Medicaid, but Congressman Collins wants Albany pay for that by itself.

If the law passed, with the amendment included, Congressman Collins says it would save Erie County taxpayers millions of dollars.  But Governor Cuomo says the state wouldn’t be able to make up for the lost dollars and the move would “decimate” the healthcare industry.

"That means less people are going healthcare assistance,” Governor Cuomo said.  “That means more hospitals, more nursing homes are going to close.  That's what that means."

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajiw (R) revealed a plan Wednesday that would ensure taxpayers see actual relief if the ACHA were passed with this amendment included.

"We will save about 203-204 million dollars,” Mychajliw said.  “That is an absolute, cold hard fact."

Mychajliw’s plan would save the average homeowner in Erie County $426 a year on property taxes, and also increase funding for infrastructure.

While Governor Cuomo says the state would be unable to make up these Medicaid funds on its own, Congressman Collins says the amount is so small in comparison to the overall state budget that Albany lawmakers should be able to find a way to cover the costs.