Praise and Criticism over AHCA Bill

Congressman Chris Collins and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz talk AHCA

Mike Baggerman
May 05, 2017 - 4:00 am

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - After the republicans in the House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, there was a mixed reaction from local politicians.

On one side of the aisle was Congressman Chris Collins, who voted in favor of the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

"We knew Obamacare was failing hour by hour and day by day," he told WBEN on Thursday. "This is the first step with the president and the republican congress to fill a campaign promise that was front and center of Donald Trump being elected president and that was to repeal and replace the failed health care law called Obamacare."

The congressman hailed his signature amendment, the Collins-Faso amendment, which should ease the burden of property taxes for Western New Yorkers while affecting the way Medicaid receives its funding.

"It will return to the taxpayers in the counties across New York $204 million a year," Collins said. "That's the amount county taxpayers have been sending to Albany to backdrop our governor's bloated Medicaid plan. The amendment will prevent the governor from passing Medicaid cost down to the 57 counties outside New York City, saving $2.3 billion for local taxpayers. It's a New York only amendment."

Collins also called it a "game-changer" for the counties he represents.

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Meanwhile, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz criticized the bill and said the GOP didn't listen to the American Medical Association, the AARP, the American Cancer Society, and other organization. 

"They voted for the bill that the American public hasn't seen," Poloncarz said to WBEN. "They didn't even wait for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to issue its usual score and what the cost would be for this bill. They went ahead and voted for it without even knowing its cost when the prior bill they proposed would have resulted in millions of less people with health care but the cost of health care skyrocketing."

Collins explained that there was a CBO score with the original bill and that the only reason there was no score was because of minor last minute changes to the current one and that they know the score is 98 percent accurate.

Another criticism of the bill from Poloncarz was its affect on locals in Erie County. He said that approximately 35,000 have health care in Erie County because of Medicaid alone while adding they'll lose that coverage because of cuts in the program and changes in its expansion.

Next, the bill goes to the United States Senate where the voting process could take several weeks. Collins is optimistic that the bill will be passed while Poloncarz said the current version of bill will not. 

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