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Editorial: Collins' disastrous Medicaid amendment

Here’s how Rep. Chris Collins thinks he should represent his district in Washington: by engineering a maneuver that upends decades of policy with no thought to consequences. His amendment, to be voted on today, would absolve counties of all Medicaid costs in just two years and, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, create a $2.3 billion hole in the health care program for the poor – one that he says he cannot fill.

Under the right circumstances, such a change might be tempting. New York is one of only a few states that require counties to pay a share of Medicaid costs, a significant burden. But under this federal gambit, only upstate New York would see a change and, while that could benefit county executives, it would do so in a way that could devastate the state’s hospitals because state Medicaid payments could not make up the difference, Cuomo said.

This amendment is nothing more than a bribe, designed to tempt Republican members of Congress from New York to support the overall Republican health care legislation.

The Collins amendment does nothing to require counties to return their newfound money to taxpayers and, Cuomo says, ignores the fact that counties were allowed to implement a sales tax to help cover their share of Medicaid costs. Thus, upstate’s county executives will have millions more dollars to spend as they see fit.

And all of this so Congress can pass legislation that would inflict real harm on millions of Americans – many of them Trump supporters.

It’s blood money. New York’s members of Congress should reject it.

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