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Understanding medicaid amendment

How proposed amendment could impact you
Posted at 10:04 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 23:19:29-04

No matter how you shake it, health care is a complicated. But in this article, we'll do our best to explain Rep. Chris Collin's proposed amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trump Care or the GOP Health Care Bill, and what it could mean to you.

At the core of this proposal - shifting the burden of medicaid costs from individual counties to New York State.  The amendment would only impact New York, and only those counties outside of New York City.

According to Rep. Collins, medicaid costs in New York are currently 44% higher per beneficiary than the national average.  The vast majority of states do not rely on individual counties to essentially foot the bill for medicaid.  If this passes, he believes it will help rein in overal medicaid spending, while also lowering property taxes throughout upstate.  

The following numbers come directly from Rep. Collins' office:

On the opposing side, Governor Cuomo fears this move could essentially be a death blow to the state.  He says the amendment could result in job losses and program cuts.  Many Democrats are now calling the amendment, "The Buffalo Buyout" even, "The Buffalo Bribe." They say the amendment is about putting pressure on three New York Republicans to vote for "Trump Care" in the House.  They believe the provision is being used to sway Congresswomen Claudia Tenney and Elise Stefanik, as well as Congressman John Faso who were previously said to be on the fence with the GOP healthcare plan.     

And while some Democrats are crying foul at this tactic, they proposed something similar when trying to pass the Affordable Care Act, (ACA, Obama-care) in 2009.  There was the so-called "Cornhusker Kick-back", where party leaders agreed on a special policy to attract the vote of a Nebraska Senator.  The policy did not make it into the final bill.

A vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) could come as early as Thursday.

Healthcare workers like Certified Nursing Assistant Kevin Sandmaier say the potential of losing county medicaid funding for patients he treats paints a scary picture for his facility's future.

"These things that people rely on and depend on to stay alive are the things that are being attacked most," Sandmaier said.

Healthcare professionals like Sandmaier worry that more cuts could mean spreading around more work, leaving less personal time for patients.