Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says he plans protect healthcare coverage in St. Lawrence County and across the state from “ultra conservatives” in Washington D.C., as Republicans in congress work to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Assemblywoman Addie Jenne, D-Theresa, has also vocally opposed President Donald Trump’s American Health Care Act, which would fill the void left by the ACA. She says the AHCA would be devastating to the middle class and working poor as it would cut Medicaid reimbursements and fail to ensure coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Fearing the legislation will pass, Gov. Cuomo is directing the New York State Department of Financial Services to come up with new regulations that he says would protect health coverage in St. Lawrence County and the rest of New York, even if the American Health Care Act passes in Congress.
Cuomo says he wants new emergency regulations mandating health insurance providers do not discriminate against New Yorkers with preexisting conditions or based on age or gender, in addition to safeguarding the 10 categories of protections guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.”
At the governor's direction, the Department of Health will ban all insurers who withdraw from offering Qualified Health Plans on the State Health Marketplace from future participation in any program that interacts with the marketplace, including Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan.
“New York is home to one of the most robust health marketplaces in the country, and insurers who do not comply will lose access to such profitable programs,” according to a statement from Cuomo’s office.
The governor will also direct state agencies and authorities to ban insurers who withdraw from the State Health Marketplace from contracting with the state and to consider all available actions to protect New Yorker’s access to quality healthcare.
Furthermore, the administration finalized regulations that will ensure that contraceptive drugs and devices are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles no matter federal action. The regulations also ensure all medically necessary abortion services are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
"We will not stand idly by as ultra-conservatives in Washington try to roll back the progress we have made to expand access quality, affordable health care, putting our most vulnerable New Yorkers at risk," Cuomo said in a prepared statement. "As long as I am Governor, New Yorkers will not be subject to price discrimination based on age, gender, or pre-existing conditions, and essential health benefits will continue to be the rule, not the exception. These aggressive actions will make certain that no matter what happens in Congress, the people of New York will not have to worry about losing access to the quality medical care they need and deserve."
Under the new regulations, DFS will require that individual and small group accident and health insurance policies, which provide hospital, surgical, or medical expense coverage, as well as student accident and health insurance policies cover the same categories of essential health benefits and be subject to the same benchmark plan rules that currently apply through the Affordable Care Act. Insurers must comply with the new regulations as a requirement of their license in New York, Cuomo said.
North Country Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, supported the bill and helped the AHCA clear the House of Representatives, where it now faces opposition from New York senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.