Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today stood together to announce that, if the House or Senate health care bill is signed into law, New York State will bring a lawsuit challenging the bill's constitutionality.
Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman made the announcement at an event at Mount Sinai Hospital, encouraging members of New York's Congressional delegation to stand against the bill. Should it pass and be signed into law, New York will challenge the Republican health care bill in court on the basis of several constitutional defects, including the placement of unconstitutional conditions on federal dollars used for health care.
"The Senate health care bill is an assault on New Yorkers that would decimate hospitals and devastate healthcare access," Governor Cuomo said. "Token changes cannot hide the fact that this is a cruel and heartless bill. New Yorkers are not easily fooled, and, if this harmful plan passes, we're going to stand up as New Yorkers and sue the federal government. My first priority is always the health and safety of the residents of this great state and we will not allow Washington to take health care from our people."
"This bill isn't simply unconscionable and unjust - it's unconstitutional. That's why I've made clear: if this bill ever becomes law, I will challenge it in court, to protect the millions of New Yorkers whose health care is at stake," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "This bill's attacks on Planned Parenthood would create an undue burden on women's fundamental constitutional right to reproductive health care, while placing unconstitutional conditions on federal dollars that fund vital services like breast cancer screenings, STD tests, and more. Meanwhile, the Faso-Collins amendment represents a cynical ploy to meddle in New York's Medicaid funding system, requiring massive state tax increases to offset billions in lost federal funds. We won't stand for it. And we will sue - because this is about New Yorkers' health, their lives, and their basic rights."
"The Senate's proposed tax cut for millionaires poorly disguised as a health care bill is a disaster for New Yorkers," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Hundreds of thousands would lose health coverage and the pressure on our public hospitals and first responders would be enormous. It will send us back to a time when New Yorkers were forced to choose between the care they need and feeding their families. That's why we are organizing to stop this bill. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman for vowing to take this critical step if this bill becomes a reality."
The bill delivers tax cuts to insurance companies, medical device companies and high-income people while jeopardizing health care coverage for millions of middle class New Yorkers, exacerbating the opioid epidemic ravaging the country and driving up costs for people with preexisting conditions. If passed, it would cut billions of dollars from New York's Medicaid program and includes a proposal by two reckless members of New York's own congressional delegation, Representatives John Faso and Chris Collins, that seeks to eliminate $2.3 billion dollars in payments, forcing all New Yorkers to pay a "Faso-Collins Federal Tax."
New York has taken aggressive action to protect New Yorkers' access to quality, affordable health care, mandating that insurance companies cannot discriminate against New Yorkers with preexisting conditions or based on age or gender; mandating that insurance policies cover all 10 essential benefits laid out in the Affordable Care Act; and banning all insurers who withdraw from offering Qualified Health Plans on the State Health Marketplace from future participation in the marketplace.?
This also follows a number of steps Attorney General Schneiderman has taken to protect women's reproductive rights, including issuing a formal legal opinion to cement the fact that New York State's criminal law does not interfere with the reproductive health rights ensured by Roe v. Wadeand later cases; investigation of New York health plans' adherence to federal no-cost sharing requirements for contraceptives, and introducing the New York Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act to protect cost-free access to birth control; and filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Texas law imposing unnecessary and burdensome requirements on abortion clinics with the purpose and effect of closing many of them.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "The Senate's proposed repeal of the ACA would be devastating to our most vulnerable New Yorkers after cuts jeopardize access to health care across the board, from prenatal and reproductive services to nursing home care. I have been all across the state talking to New Yorkers who are only asking to be treated with dignity and respect, and they are afraid to get sick or old because they won't be able to receive the care they need under the proposed repeal. Our representatives in Washington need to do what they promised and get all New Yorkers the health care they deserve."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Here in New York we have worked hard to achieve a public health system that meets the needs of individuals and families. Under the Affordable Care Act, we achieved health insurance coverage for a record number of New Yorkers and we will not abandon that progress. It is unimaginable that we have to implore Congress to do the right thing on this issue. As I have said many times, the Assembly Majority will not sit idly by while New York's citizens suffer devastating losses to their health care access. We made a promise to put families first and it that is why we continue to defend our communities against this hostile affront to healthcare in our country. I call on our representatives in Congress to put politics and self-interest aside and deliver a solution that truly meets the needs of the communities they serve."
Bea Grause, President of The Healthcare Association of New York State, said, "The Senate Republican Health Care Bill reneges on years of progress that we've made in supporting health care access in this country. The bill takes away healthcare from millions of New Yorkers who rely on the Medicaid program for themselves and their families. In this state, we stand tall in our opposition to this misguided bill. I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in this fight and for continuing to be a champion of women's rights."
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo