Home > One Party State, The Buffalo Blues > Backlash against health care bill growing in the benighted fever swamps…of New York

Backlash against health care bill growing in the benighted fever swamps…of New York

December 24, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

New York’s Senate Minority Leader David Skelos sent a letter yesterday to New York Governor David Paterson which encourages him to join a lawsuit that is being pursued by seven other states challenging the Constitutionality of what has to be known as the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Nebraska Compromise,” a Medicaid deal cut to secure the vote of holdout Bill Nelson for the Senate’s health care bill.

The Attorney Generals of seven states- Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Washington, Michigan and North Dakota – have announced that they will be jointly investigating the legality of the deal which permanently exempts Nebraska from paying Medicaid costs that the rest of the 49 states must pay.

Skelos wrote the letter recognizing that Paterson and New York City Mayor Bloomberg have criticized the health care reform bill on the basis that it will force New York into a situation where it will be losing $1 billion or more annually. In comments to WBEN-AM Radio on December 21 in Buffalo, Paterson said the Senate bill would “punish” New York for its own charity (New York has some of the most generous Medicaid benefits in the U.S.) and that health care spending by the State is already at “the limit.” Paterson also said the bill would force New York to close hundreds of health care facilities in the state.

Gov. Paterson has been struggling to bring the State’s spending under control and has been warning the Democratic-controlled legislature that New York is on the brink of insolvency.

Skelos’ letter contained this plea:

“Governor, you and Mayor Bloomberg have called the health care reform bill passed by the Senate a fiscal disaster that would impose greater Medicaid costs on New York City and State,” Skelos wrote.

“Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are claiming that the Senate bill protects the status quo for New York but that is not good enough as other states are reaping a windfall.”

“An unfair federal Medicaid reimbursement level already shortchanges our state. And now, because of a questionable vote-buying deal, that burden could increase significantly.”

“If it takes legal action by the states to prevent such clear discrimination then I urge both of you to support such a suit.”

New York City Congressman Charles Rangel has also reassured the madding crowd that the final bill will protect New York but admitted, “there are a whole lot of things that we have to reconciliate.”  Rangel will likely be one of 7 legislators who will be meeting early next year to draft a final bill in the reconciliation committee.

"Trust me. New York has a lot of allies and I'm on the committee!"

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