An Affordable Care Act repeal would result in 2.7 million New Yorkers losing healthcare coverage and would punch a $3.7 billion hole in the state budget, according to figures released Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A repeal would strip New York counties of $595.7 million in funding statewide, including $433.3 million in New York City, that local governments use to fund the state's Medicaid program, according to the state data.
"The cost of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, to state and local budgets and to the New Yorkers who depend on its health care coverage, is simply too high to justify," Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo's defense of the law came as Republicans in Washington inched closer to a repeal.
The U.S. Senate voted, 51–48, to debate the budget bill—which would begin the Obamacare repeal process. The Republicans plan to repeal the federal health law through the budget reconciliation process, which requires only a simple majority in the Senate and House. The Senate may not filibuster legislation handled that way.
"In terms of what we can do here most immediately, Obamacare is at the top of this list," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor before the vote.
Sen. Charles Schumer, in his new role as Senate minority leader, defended the Affordable Care Act for reducing the number of uninsured Americans and ending insurers' discrimination against customers with pre-existing conditions. In New York, the uninsured rate dropped to 5% from 10% between 2013 and 2015.
"The consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act are real, and I urge my colleagues sincerely to deeply consider the consequences," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "It's no longer just a game or a political line to say 'repeal,' because now you have to replace."
Cuomo's announcement was accompanied by statements from the leaders of the state's two largest hospital trade groups and largest health care workers union. They voiced concern about the financial impact on hospitals if the law is repealed, leading to more uninsured patients who can't pay for care.
"Repealing the Affordable Care Act without an immediate and adequate replacement plan will make things dramatically worse for safety-net hospitals and the vulnerable communities they serve," said Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association.
"Obamacare repeal would cost New York $3.7 billion" originally appeared in Crain's New York Business.