KJOLHEDE: VULNERABLE WOULD BE HURT
COOPERSTOWN – After hearing objections from the public, the county Board of Representatives this morning pulled a resolution that would have supported U.S. Rep. John Faso’s amendment requiring the State of New York to absorb any additional costs of federal Medicaid cuts, rather than passing them along to counties.
Constituents were lined up out into the hallway outside the County Board’s chamber on the second floor of the county Office Building as Dr. Chris Kjolhede, co-director of Bassett’s School-Based Health Program, suggested the so-called Faso-Collins amendment, by making the Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA) more palatable, is threatening the county’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Medicaid covers children from low-income families and children with special heath care needs,” he said. “Medicaid reimbursement is an essential part of the School-Based Heath Program funding stream and the Faso-Collins amendment makes no provision for replacing those funds that are in jeopardy.”
He told the county reps, “I implore you not to accept a seemingly easy fix at the expense of health care for children and adolescents.”
The resolution had been proposed by the county board’s Administration Committee, but it was withdrawn in the face of the objections.
For his part, Vince Casale, the county Republican chairman, said the criticism was misdirected, as the Faso-Collins amendment, if the AHCA becomes law, would avert “the largest unfunded mandate imposed on the people of New York,” saving Otsego County alone from $10 million in additional costs.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the amendment vs. healthcare,” he said. “This is about the amendment, and the amendment is great for Otsego County.”
The Faso-Collins amendment is in the version of the AHCA bill that passed the House of Representatives, and it remains in the version of Obamacare reform now being considered in the U.S. Senate, Casale said. He said he is not sure if other Upstate counties are considering similar resolutions.