GOP rep unaware of health bill’s impact on his state despite voting for it

GOP rep unaware of health bill’s impact on his state despite voting for it
© Greg Nash

Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsTax plans show Congress putting donors over voters The GOP tax bill will be a health care burden on American families Lobbyists in ‘frenzy’ over GOP’s tax-reform push MORE (R-N.Y.), who says he did not read the House Republicans' healthcare bill before he voted for it, told a local paper he was unaware of the legislation's possibly devastating effect on his home state.

“No,” Collins told The Buffalo News Thursday when asked if he was aware of the bill’s cuts to a health program serving 635,000 New Yorkers. “Explain that to me.”

The News said that the House bill would cost New York $3 billion in federal funds it receives annually for the state’s Essential Health Plan.

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The plan is an optional program under ObamaCare offered only by Minnesota and New York, providing low-cost health insurance to low- and middle-income people who do not qualify for Medicaid.

“But it doesn’t surprise me for you to tell me that there were two states in the nation that were taking advantage of some other waiver program and New York was one of the two states,” Collins told the News when asked about the plan.

House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act in a narrow 217-213 vote Thursday.

Collins, a top ally of President Trump, admitted later in the day he had not read the entire text of the bill, though his staff did.

“I will fully admit, Wolf, I did not, but I can also assure you my staff did,” he told host Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

“We rely on our staff and we rely on our committees, and I’m comfortable that I understand this bill in its entirety, Wolf, without pouring through every word, and I’m just being quite honest. That’s the way it is."