Thiele Assails Health Care Act

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. issued a statement Friday assailing the American Health Care Act, which passed by a 217-213 vote in the House of Representatives last Thursday. The act, a step in the Republican majority’s campaign to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, “would be a catastrophic blow to the health and welfare of all New Yorkers,” Mr. Thiele said.

The plan could leave 2.7 million state residents without health care coverage, the assemblyman said, and reduce federal aid under Medicaid to the state by $4.3 billion. “These cuts could force New York State to choose among increased taxes, slashed health care coverage, and devastating health care providers,” he predicted.

Nursing homes would lose $401 million, home care would be cut by $360 million, and hospitals would lose $355 million, Mr. Thiele charged. “Locally, we have worked long and hard to effectuate a merger between Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University Hospital that would improve health care to our residents in a financially sustainable manner. This plan could seriously undermine the anticipated benefits of the merger,” he said.

If passed in its present form, the act would remove the requirement that insurance companies provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Mr. Thiele said some 8.4 million New Yorkers under the age of 65 have pre-existing conditions. The plan also eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood.

“I condemn those members of Congress who by voting ‘yes’ put partisan politics ahead of the public good,” Mr. Thiele said. Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican serving New York’s First Congressional District, voted in favor of the act. Twenty House Republicans voted against it, as did every Democrat.

“There can be no doubt that the current health insurance system is flawed and needs to be repaired,” Mr. Thiele said. “However, the bill passed yesterday is headed 180 degrees in the wrong direction. It is now up to the members of the U.S. Senate to stop this horrific bill in its tracks so it never makes it to President Trump’s desk.”