Lavine pushes for study of health law’s impact

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State Assemblyman Charles Lavine speaks at the New Hyde Park home of Gerry Laytin (right), whose mother depends on Medicaid. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

State Assemblyman Charles Lavine slammed Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on Thursday for not studying the potential impact of Republicans’ federal health care plan, echoing calls from other Democrats earlier this week.

Lavine, one of three Democrats running for Mangano’s job, said the Republican’s reluctance to analyze what the county has to lose under the proposed American Health Care Act amounted to “gross negligence” that would have human consequences.

Nassau’s Democratic county legislators issued a similar call Tuesday after a Mangano spokesman dismissed Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s order for a study as political.

“For those who are going to lose insurance, it’s anything but political,” Lavine said at a news conference. “It’s a human consequence that’s going to be paid here.”

Lavine addressed reporters at the New Hyde Park home of Gerry Laytin, 62, and his 94-year-old mother Eleanor, who relies on Medicaid to pay for a live-in health aide.

Changes to how Medicaid is funded in the Republican health plan could jeopardize the care she receives, Laytin said. Medicaid is funded by the state and federal governments and adminstered by the county.

“I’m amazed that our county executive hasn’t taken a stand to say, ‘Let’s at least find out,’ as opposed to taking a wait-and-see attitude,” Laytin said.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives postponed Thursday’s planned vote on the bill, touted as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature law.

If it’s enacted, the federal deficit would shrink by $150 billion but 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report released Thursday.

Lavine said he wants Mangano to order every agency that administers health care services to evaluate the law’s impact and determine how the county would keep services in place if it loses federal money.

House Republicans reportedly do not have enough votes to pass the bill, but Lavine said Nassau should study any proposed changes.

Eric Naughton, the deputy county executive for finance, said officials are “are monitoring the impact of the bill as significant debate continues on the Hill.”

The Mangano administration supports a provision in the bill, negotiated by upstate Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso, that would prevent New York State from taxing counties to fund Medicaid, said Brian Nevin, a Mangano spokesman.

The current Medicaid funding system “heavily burdens counties and has caused an increase in property taxes statewide,” Nevin said in an email.

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