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Politics and Government

Tenney says she will wait to decide on new health care bill

Bret Jaspers
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) at her Binghamton office on Monday.

As Congress attempts to change the Affordable Care Act, members are facing questions in their districts about how they come down on the new health care bill being pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Trump administration.  

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) says she hasn’t made a decision yet on the new bill, the American Health Care Act.

Tenney opened her Binghamton field office on Monday. When asked if she supports the AHCA, she said the bill may change by the end of the week. Tenney said she and her fellow New York Republicans want to see what the bill looks like then.

"We’re very concerned to make sure that we won’t be negatively affected with the large Medicaid expansion in New York, and some of the complicated issues in New York state," she said. She specifically mentioned rural hospitals, which rely on Medicaid and Medicare patients.

Tenney also said, compared to other ideas to change Medicaid, she’s more supportive of the bill’s “per capita” cap. Under that proposal, the federal government would reimburse states only a certain amount of money per person. Right now, the federal government sends the states matching funds for Medicaid, and there's no cap.

The bill also ends Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid in a few years.

Outside Tenney’s new office, some constituents gathered with signs opposing the health care changes.

Lori Wahila of Endwell said her 30-year-old son gets health insurance through the Medicaid expansion. She said he’s had diabetes since he was 9 and isn’t covered at his job at a small local company.

"He would not be able to afford any kind of health insurance because of his pre-existing condition, which requires all these medications and doctor visits to specialists," she said. Wahila said she met with Tenney earlier in the day.

Experts on both sides of the political spectrum are estimating millions of people will lose health insurance under the new bill. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a report Monday that predicted 24 million people would lose insurance in the next 10 years under the AHCA.