Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged congressional Republicans to drop their support for the latest GOP-led Obamacare replacement plan, saying the proposal will have “devastating” effects on thousands of veterans covered by Medicaid.
At a news conference in midtown, Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate minority leader, said the health care bill put forward by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-N.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) endangers the Medicaid coverage of some 19,000 New York veterans enrolled in the government-subsidized health care plan.
The Graham-Cassidy bill calls for $4.15 trillion in Medicaid funding cuts to states over the next two decades, including $436 billion in cuts to New York, which Schumer said would impact those veterans who receive their health care from Medicaid or private insurers.
“A very critical cohort is at risk — our veterans,” Schumer said at a news conference in his midtown office. “They put their lives on the line for this nation, both young and old, and they shouldn’t have to go to war to save their critical benefits.”
Schumer, surrounded by a dozen veterans and veteran advocates, said nearly one in 10 U.S. veterans are enrolled in Medicaid, including 19,000 New Yorkers.
“The idea that you could cut health care, particularly from our veterans, is something that should send a shudder down the spine of every American,” Schumer said.
He was joined by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who called on Republicans to vet the Graham-Cassidy bill publicly before scheduling a vote on the measure.
“Taking away coverage . . . without an affordable replacement is a very, very bad idea,” Cantwell said.
Schumer said he was encouraged by Republican Sen. John McCain’s announcement Friday that he would not support the bill, and he noted that other Republicans appeared to be backing away from the bill as well, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who told reporters in his home state that the bill did not have his full support. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also has expressed opposition to the bill.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of The Union” that “it’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill.” She said she wanted more information on the legislation from the Congressional Budget Office.
“I have a number of serious reservations about it,” she said, noting concerns about the consequences to funding for Medicaid. She said Vice President Mike Pence had lobbied her on the bill on Saturday. A “no” vote from Collins could imperil the bill. Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate.
But White House Director for Legislative Affairs Marc Short told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday that “it’s not dead.”
He said supporters of the bill are “just days away from a final vote, and we’re trying to win over the support of the last couple of senators to get there.”
With Scott Eidler