Area Residents Call on Rep. Stefanik and Congress to Fund Health Care, Not Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
Glens Falls, NY — Citizen Action of New York, the Fiscal Policy Institute, and local community groups held a press conference on Thursday outside of Glens Falls Hospital to call on Rep. Elise Stefanik and Congress to enact a bipartisan solution to restore funding for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Community leaders voiced their appreciation for her commitment to restore Medicaid DSH (Disproportionate Share Hospital) payments; however, this alone will not protect vulnerable families in the region.
Congress has failed to renew funding for critical health care programs, which jeopardizes access to care for low and middle-income residents and threatens hospitals across the state. The deadline for the renewal of DSH, CHIP, and FQHCs was October 1st.
CHIP provides health care coverage for 350,000 children in the state. The loss of this funding puts children at risk and places an undue financial burden on struggling families.
“Cuts to DSH will hit New York harder than any other state in the nation with funding reductions that could total $2.6 billion by 2025,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. “To add insult to injury, Congress has also failed to reauthorize the CHIP program that would jeopardize heath care for 350,000 children in New York and poke a $1 billion hole in our state budget. Congress member Stefanik needs to step up to the plate and protect the health and well-being of her constituents.”
Area hospitals rely heavily on Medicaid DSH payments, which offset costs accrued for caring for uninsured and underinsured patients. Glens Falls Hospital could lose as much as $3.7 million in Medicaid DSH payments. Nathan Littauer Hospital (Gloversville) stands to lose $2.8 million. Samaritan Medical Center (Watertown) and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (Plattsburgh) could lose $2.1 million and $1.8 million, respectively.
Rep. Stefanik is one of the few Republicans in the House to express concern over the DSH cuts, despite supporting a House budget resolution that cuts funding for health care.
“My husband, Bob, has leukemia and would not be alive today without the life-saving treatment he has received through the Glens Falls Hospital.” said Sara Carpenter of Queensbury. “Our hospital serves tens of thousands of families in the area and saves lives every single day. I pray that Congress sees their way clear to make sure our hospital remains fully funded, so that it can continue to complete its mission to provide exceptional, affordable, and patient-centered care.”
“Glens Falls Hospital and Hudson Headwaters Health Network are two of the largest employers in our region. Taken all together, cuts in DSH payments, the total elimination of the Childhood Health Insurance Program, cuts to federally-qualifying Community Health Centers (of which Hudson Headwaters Health Network is one), and the elimination of subsidies for working families health insurance premiums will result in a real danger to the health of all citizens of CD 21,” said Stephen Baratta, candidate for Glens Falls City Council. “These cuts combined would seriously impact our local economy.”
“Congresswoman Stefanik needs to stop playing with the lives of our children, our families, and health care jobs,” said Sergia Coffey, candidate for Milton Town Council. “She needs to vote to fund Child Health Plus (CHIP), Federally Qualified Health Centers, and the ACA marketplace.”
The anticipated cuts lay the groundwork for a new federal tax plan that will slash taxes for large corporations and a small number of wealthy Americans.