Tenney votes "Yes" on GOP health care bill, releases statement

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Congresswoman Claudia Tenney voted in favor of a bill that would replace Obamacare on Thursday.

The bill narrowly passed in the House of Representatives, and now heads to the Senate.

Tenney released the following statement on her decision Thursday afternoon.

"Upstate New Yorkers deserve health care options that empower them, their families and their doctors while preserving coverage protections and peace of mind. Under Obamacare, Americans across the country have lost access to the affordable, quality health care they deserve.

Patients have been hurt, doctors have been burdened, and our families and taxpayers are being crushed by this terrible law and its thousands of pages of onerous, unworkable regulations. Our most vulnerable citizens– seniors, hardworking middle-class families and veterans – are in worse shape now than they were before.

As Obamacare teeters on the brink of collapse, marketplaces in states across the nation continue to flee the exchanges, leaving patients with limited choices and unaffordable coverage options. For a number of families across the 22nd District, premiums are higher than a house payment and deductibles are a third of a year’s salary, while families are left helpless as their insurance plans are abruptly cancelled without notice. Our families did not sign up for this.

Although the American Health Care Act is not a perfect piece of legislation, it is the first step in a comprehensive process to bring choice, affordability, and quality back to health care.

The bill eliminates the individual and employer mandates, which have forced too many Americans to purchase plans they do not want, while burdening our local employers with costly mandates, causing many businesses close, or lay-off employees.

The American Health Care Act also eliminates harmful taxes imposed by Obamacare that have driven-up costs on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and medical devices. Dismantling these taxes will reduce the burdens on patients, health care providers and our job creators. The bill also provides protections for our most vulnerable, including those with preexisting conditions, while the plan allows young adults to stay on their parents plan until the age of 26.

In an effort to bring tangible tax relief to upstate New York taxpayers for the first time in a generation, I also successfully fought for the inclusion of the Collins-Faso amendment in this final bill. This amendment would relieve Upstate counties of Albany’s egregious and burdensome Medicaid property tax mandate, which costs taxpayers in the 22nd District more than $160 million each year and drives up our local taxes. As a Member of the New York State Assembly, I co-sponsored this bipartisan piece of legislation, and now as a Member of Congress, I am gratified to finally see this initiative pass.

For decades, Albany has forced Upstate counties to bear a disproportionally large share of the state’s Medicaid budget. In 2015, this share amounted to $7.5 billion – seven times more than any other states’ counties contribute. This has caused our property taxes to soar while diverting local money to Albany to subsidize the government’s out-of-control and wasteful spending.

In addition, to ensure that Congress lives by the same standards as the American people and the rules that they legislate, I cosponsored, and voted in favor of, an amendment that would repeal the section of the American Health Care Act that exempts Members of Congress and their staff.

As I said, the final bill is not perfect and there is far more work to be done to get our nation’s health care system to where it should be, but continuing the status quo under Obamacare is unacceptable.

By working through the regulatory and legislative processes, we will continue to improve upon this bill and implement new reforms to increase access to high quality health care services at a price that is truly affordable. Throughout this process, I will continue to listen to the concerns of my constituency and will bring your feedback to Congress."

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