Source: Our Town

By Michael Garofalo

New York’s Democratic elected officials breathed a sigh of relief last week when Republican leaders in Washington withdrew the American Health Care Act before it could reach a vote in the House. President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and other Republican leaders killed the legislation after failing to win adequate support for the bill from their own party, both among moderate Republicans and hardline members of the House Freedom Caucus. Combined with staunch opposition from the Democratic minority in the House, the failure to build conservative consensus forced congressional Republicans, for the time being, to leave in place the Affordable Care Act, the repeal of which has been a key Republican policy point since it was passed in 2010.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who was part of the Democratic opposition in the House and whose district includes much of Manhattan’s East Side, told Our Town at an unrelated press conference at City Hall last week that she was pleased with the outcome.

“The American people spoke and members of Congress listened,” Maloney said. “Why in the world would you pass a bill that costs more money and takes 24 million people off the rolls that already have health care? It was a bad bill. I am thrilled it was defeated.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo was one of the bill’s harshest critics in New York, and said that the Republican plan would have shifted $2.4 billion in costs to hospitals and state and local governments each year. “Republican 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,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This Congress tried to play the people of this nation for a fool – they were wrong, and they lost.”

Other New York elected officials weighed in as well. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Democrats are willing to work with the president to improve health care if Republicans drop efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Nydia Velazquez echoed Schumer’s call for collaboration, saying in a statement, “Building consensus is the only way to address the pressing matters facing our nation. However, 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.”

Maloney didn’t rule out working on health care with President Trump, who is her constituent. “We all want to work in any way to improve the bill if we can,” she said.