Engel Statement on So-Called “Empire State Kickback”

Mar 21, 2017

Washington D.C.— Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement regarding the so-called “Empire State kickback” included in the manager’s amendment to the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare):

“As written, Trumpcare will be devastating for New Yorkers. This provision, though, manages to make a bad bill worse.

“The underlying bill already takes health coverage from our constituents, forces an age tax onto seniors through astronomical premiums, strips vital protections that ensure Americans get quality care for their money, and robs our state of nearly $5 billion. But this ‘buyout’, as it is aptly named, will cost New Yorkers another $2 billion in Medicaid cuts.

“Some allege that this provision will relieve county taxpayers: don’t buy it. The state will need to make up that shortfall, and it will mean rolling back services on top of pushing new costs onto all New Yorkers.

“Let’s cut right through the nonsense—this provision is a transparent attempt to win over leery Republicans, who are rightfully hesitant to support a bill that is bad for their constituents. The plan is shortsighted and will ultimately punish every New Yorker, including those it purports to protect.

“My fellow Democrats and I have said for weeks that states won’t be able to absorb Trumpcare’s harmful policies: they will have no choice but to ration care – that includes care for seniors, children and the disabled. This provision means yet another New Yorker – perhaps another child – will see the services they depend on put out of reach.

“I implore my colleagues to recognize the damage that this provision would do, and to make clear to your leadership that their bill – and this backroom dealing – is unacceptable.”

Background: Late on Monday evening, House Republicans disclosed last-minute changes to their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. These changes included a Medicaid funding modification that would directly impact New York, denying the state $2 billion in federal Medicaid funds.
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Please note this press release was originally published on March 21, 2017 by Congressman Engel’s House of Representative’s office and posted to this website no sooner than 72 hours after initial publication.