STATEN ISLAND — Days after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), CSEA Metropolitan Region activists met with U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan to express their appreciation for his opposition to the bill.
“It was a difficult vote,” said Donovan. “However, I have many constituents who would be adversely impacted by this bill.”
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) repeals the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and replaces certain elements of that health care law.
The bill will be sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration, but its future is uncertain.
The meeting with Donovan at his district office, to share CSEA’s concerns and legislative priorities, was coordinated by longtime constituent and CSEA activist John Montalbano of the state Lottery Division. CSEA Political Action Coordinator Matthew D’Amico and Deputy Director of State Operations Administration Joel Schwartz were also in attendance.
The bill’s passage would affect millions of New Yorkers, including tens of thousands of constituents in Donovan’s Congressional district, which includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.
While most CSEA members have health insurance through their employers, the legislation would have a significant negative impact on health care delivery and financing in New York state.
Enacting the AHCA could also deal a blow to the state Office of Mental Health (OMH) and state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) since many patients rely on Medicaid.
It is estimated that the AHCA would leave 2.7 million New Yorkers without health care, would cut $4.7 billion from the state’s Medicaid budget, and would cost the state at least $6.9 billion over the next four years.
Additionally, payments to nursing homes would be cut by $401 million, home care payments would be cut by $360 million and hospital payments would be cut by $355 million.
Further, the bill contains a provision that would allow states to allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums, making it nearly impossible for many of them to access affordable health care.
“We may not always agree on all the issues, but we need to visit and engage our elected officials on all the issues and laws that matter to us,” said Montalbano, who is also on the Metropolitan Region Political Action Committee and serves on the state contract negotiating team.
A former Richmond County district attorney before being elected to Congress, Donovan knows all too well that many people with mental health and substance abuse issues land in prison rather than in facilities like South Beach Psychiatric Center or Staten Island DDSO where they could be better served by professionally trained staff.
“You definitely have my support,” said Donovan. “I know the work you do is invaluable and I will do what I can to be supportive.”
— David Galarza
Above, U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan meet with CSEA Political Action Coordinator Matthew D’Amico, CSEA Deputy Director of State Operations Joel Schwartz and State Lottery Division activist John Montalbano, back to camera, at his district office to discuss issues and priorities for our members.