By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Local Democratic elected officials gathered at City Hall to protest the latest efforts from Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Monday morning, a day prior to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scrapping the planned vote.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who was joined by City Councilmember Corey Johnson, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and other healthcare advocates, said that the latest iteration of the bill, dubbed “Graham-Cassidy” for its co-sponsors, Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, was just as harmful as previous attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Maloney noted that although local elected officials oppose the bill, it would still negatively impact New Yorkers if it passed because the state would lose funding.
“Two million New Yorkers would lose their healthcare and millions would see their premiums skyrocket,” Maloney said. “Seniors wouldn’t be able to afford it.”
Republican senators were trying to push the vote through before September 30 because until then, the bill could pass with a simple majority through the budget process and after that would only be able to pass with a 60-vote majority. Arizona Senator John McCain came out against the bill last Friday and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said he was against it earlier this week.
Maine Senator Susan Collins remained on the fence by Monday, and ultimately decided she would vote no, causing McConnell to concede and call off the vote because it would not get enough votes to pass with three Republican defectors.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was also on the fence about the legislation on Monday and Johnson said that she was encouraging all Americans, not just Alaskans, to contact her office about the bill.
“She is a pivotal voice in this. (This bill) would punish seniors, it would punish women, those with HIV and AIDS,” Johnson said.
“If the Republicans got their way, people will lose their healthcare and people will die. It’s immoral and un-American.”