Cuomo: Congressional GOP has 'declared war on New York'

(AP) -- Republicans in Congress have "declared war on New York" with a plan to cut off Medicaid contributions from local counties, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The proposal, one of several revisions to the Republican health care bill, was pitched as a way to help local governments lower property taxes. But Cuomo says the spending cut would jeopardize health care for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and force hospitals and nursing homes to close their doors, leading to thousands of lost jobs.

"The consequences will be really devastating. You will literally decimate the health care industry," Cuomo said at a press conference in New York City. "You would lose more jobs in this proposal than have been built and brought to this state over the past five or six years."

New York is one of several states that see local governments contribute toward Medicaid but would be singled out in the proposed cut. In addition, the change would only apply to counties outside of New York City. It was added to the health care bill in a bid to secure support from Republican members of Congress from upstate.

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, the upstate Republican who sponsored the proposal, says it could reduce local property taxes by reducing the Medicaid burden on local counties.

"This is a huge win for our constituents," Collins said in a statement. "Year after year, Albany's leadership relies on counties to foot the bill for New York state's out-of-control Medicaid costs. Enough is enough. This amendment will stop Albany from forcing its unfunded mandate down the throats of taxpayers, and help counties lower the property tax burden on hardworking families."

A vote on the health care bill is expected on Thursday. Cuomo said he will call on members of the state's delegation to kill the Collins amendment.

If the proposal passes, New York state would have to cover the loss in Medicaid funds, according to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx. He said the idea that the Medicaid cuts would result in lower property taxes is "a ruse."

"The reality is that this measure would blow a $2.3 billion hole in the New York state budget," he said. "It is inconceivable that New York's own elected representatives would propose an amendment that would wreak financial havoc on the state and disrupt vital services for children, seniors, and our most vulnerable citizens."

Combined with other Medicaid cuts laid out in the GOP health care act and President Donald Trump's budget proposal, New York stands to lose nearly $7 billion in Medicaid spending and an estimated 2.7 million New Yorkers could see a substantial change in health coverage, according to state projections.

Taken together, Washington is telling "New York to drop dead," said Cuomo, who has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2020.

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