Congressmember John Katko hosted a roundtable discussion with health care providers Monday to find out the potential pros and cons of the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But Katko doesn’t appear ready to support any plan just yet.
Katko says all the major hospitals in the 24th District were represented at today’s meeting at Saint Joseph’s hospital. He says the biggest concerns revolved around potential cuts to Medicaid and what it might mean for hospital budgets… and patients.
“Drug treatment programs and the neonatal intensive care unit – these hospitals don’t make money on these programs, but they do them because they’re important to community," Katko said. "Those are the types of things that are going to be at risk if we don’t get this right, so the message for me going back to Washington is to get it right, and if it’s not right, they’re not going to have my support.”
Katko has, and still maintains, that he will not vote for a repeal unless a replacement is ready to go.
“I think this process is going too fast, and we need to slow down and make sure we get all the concerns of hospitals like this – which are huge economic drivers – not to mention provides great coverage for people," Katko said. "We got to make sure we get their input, and if it goes so fast, we don’t get their input. That’s the real problem for me.”
Katko says he hasn’t seen the replacement plan in writing, but is familiar with the general concept. As it stands now, he can’t support it out of concern for the impact on constituents.
“From a conservative standpoint it may not be the right route either, because they’re taking away all the funding mechanisms in the repeal and they’re not replacing them with anything," Katko said. "So whatever it is I can do going forward, I am not going to add to the terrible debt in this country just because they want to do the repeal now, as opposed to waiting a while and getting it done right.”
Katko says he does support a more market-based program that supplements coverage with a combination of tax credits, health care savings accounts, and government support.