GOP mulls ObamaCare tweak to win NY support

GOP mulls ObamaCare tweak to win NY support
© Greg Nash

House GOP leaders aiming to win votes from vulnerable New York Republicans are considering a change to their ObamaCare repeal legislation, several sources told The Hill.

The change, aimed at securing the votes of several Empire State Republicans and bolstering the GOP’s whip count ahead of a Thursday floor vote, would seek to stop New York state from forcing counties to pay for part of Medicaid.

The proposal is from Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the first member of Congress to endorse Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDavid Letterman: ‘Makes me sick’ that Trump represents us Warren rips Trump’s proposed budget cuts to Social Security Trump called Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons’: report MORE for president.

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Collins argues that his proposal would end up reducing property taxes by cutting the financial burden on counties, which paid $2.2 billion into Medicaid in 2016. Specifically, Collins’s amendment cuts off federal reimbursements for state Medicaid funds raised from county governments.

New York’s lieutenant governor issued a statement opposing the measure as effectively shifting a financial burden from counties to the state.

Two vulnerable Republicans from New York have already come out against the ObamaCare repeal bill: Reps. John Katko and Claudia Tenney.

But Tenney on Monday told constituents the Collins amendment could help her get to yes.

“This amendment will provide much needed relief to counties, local governments and the property taxpayers of Upstate New York. This would be a huge boon to our area,” Tenney said at an event in New Hartford, according to local a news report.

“If the amendment does not go through, I would not vote on it (the current version of the proposed American Health Care Act),” she said, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

New York GOP Reps. Tom Reed, John Faso, Elise Stefanik and Katko are supportive of the amendment, GOP aides said, though it’s unclear if it will be enough to get Katko to vote yes on the bill.

In a statement, Reed said the New York delegation came together to “get this done” but singled out his colleague, Faso, for praise.

“He brought this to us as a legacy issue from his time in Albany as an elected official. Faso was very proactive and creative in pushing this item for the local property taxpayers from the region,” Reed said in a statement.

“[C]redit also goes to Collins as the New York representative of the committee of jurisdiction, Energy and Commerce.”

While the New York deal has not yet been announced, Democratic campaign officials are already crying foul.

“The House Republican repeal bill is an especially bad deal for New Yorkers, and this backroom amendment is nothing more than politicians putting lipstick on a pig,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the House Democrats’ campaign arm.