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June 22, 2017

Kowal: Senate health care bill a “frontal assault” on nation’s health care

UUP President Fred Kowal condemned the Senate’s proposed health care bill, calling it a “devastating attack” on health care for tens of millions of working families with insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Kowal, whose union represents nearly 16,000 doctors and medical professionals at state-operated public hospitals in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse, and a health sciences center in Buffalo, called on senators from both sides of the aisle to reject the bill, which carries $1 trillion in tax cuts, 40 percent of which will go to the wealthiest one percent.

“This is a frontal assault on affordable, accessible health care in the United States,” said Kowal. “If the Senate is serious about health care, it would work to repair Obamacare, not blow it up. Instead, senators want to slash Medicaid, eliminate Planned Parenthood funding and rob millions of Americans of the health coverage they receive through the ACA.”

The bill is very similar to the House health care bill that passed in May; a Congressional Budget Office analysis found that the House bill would deprive 23 million more people of insurance in the next 10 years.

The Senate bill also repeals taxes on the rich, a prime reason President Trump and Senate Republicans want to push the measure through, Kowal said. The top 20 percent of earners will receive 60 percent of the proposed tax cuts.

“This is a blatantly political bill that attempts to redistribute income to the wealthy on the backs of poor and working-class Americans,” said Kowal. “It is simply unconscionable for the Senate to even consider this insane dismantling of Obamacare.”

Kowal said the Senate bill would be a blow to job creation in the health care industry, one of New York’s—and the nation’s—strongest and most consistent job growth areas. Last month, researchers at George Washington University reported that more than 725,000 health care jobs could be lost by 2020 if the House GOP bill becomes law.

“The health care industry is one of the most vibrant components of the New York state economy,” Kowal said. “There is little doubt that this part of our economy will be devastated by the health care changes the House and Senate Republicans are trying to ram through.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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