Fellow Democrats,“How could you?”“How do you sleep at night?”These were among the questions posed to no-show John Faso at last night’s town hall in Kingston. As everyone knows by now, our Congressman, John Faso, continued his no-town-halls policy, but Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) spoke passionately about the potentially disastrous American Healthcare Act that Faso and 216 other Republicans voted for last week.Here in Columbia County, opposition to the AHCA has been strong and vocal, despite Faso’s refusal to engage in public dialogue. There’s a lot not to like in the AHCA: it slashes Medicare, raises rates on senior citizens, allows companies to price insurance out of reach for those with preexisting conditions--and effectively makes being female a pre-existing condition.
A less-discussed fault of the bill that will really affect us, right here at home, is its impact on rural hospitals, especially those like Columbia Memorial Hospital. Columbia Memorial is not only our county’s largest employer, it’s also, for many of us, the only accessible hospital facility. Studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute agree that the AHCA’s financial impact on rural hospitals (primarily due to its massive Medicaid cuts) could be disastrous, including substantial layoffs and even closure.Let’s keep fighting to make sure that doesn’t happen. Please keep calling Faso, and talking to friends and neighbors about why this plan, even in some amended form to be crafted by 13 Senate Republicans, will be a big step backward for America. We deserve quality, affordable healthcare for all.If you weren’t able to make the Kingston event, you can watch it online here, and read this story in the Registar Star.Remember, demonstrators gather every Friday at noon outside Faso’s Kinderhook office. Our voices must be heard– now, in our town elections later this year, and in the 2018 midterm elections. Make the Republicans hear yours.Yours in the fight, Paige Orloff Chair, Communications Committee Columbia County Democrats