As Senate Republicans scramble to get votes for their new health care bill in Washington, Democrats in the city are sounding an alarm. The bill, they say, will have devastating consequences for New York. NY1 Political Reporter Courtney Gross filed the following report.
More than a year-and-a-half ago, 9-year-old Emilie Saltzman was on life support. She had four brain bleeds.
Now she has outpatient therapy twice a week. "They are really nice and they help me a lot," Emilie said.
Emilie had a traumatic brain injury, the result of a horseback riding accident. She was paralyzed, and she couldn't talk.
Her parents' health insurance would not cover all of her extensive care, so Emilie went on Medicaid.
"Without Medicaid, she wouldn't have any therapies at this point," said Renee Saltzman, Emilie's mother. "I think about what's going to happen to her therapies moving forward."
The family was front and center at Bellevue on Friday, blasting the new proposal from the Senate GOP to repeal and replace Obamacare — a plan which takes an axe to Medicaid.
"We continue to share our story, Emilie's story as much as possible, to ensure the Medicaid program does not receive any cuts of any kind," Renee Saltzman said at the rally.
Sen. Charles Schumer led the charge. "Are we going to fight it with every ounce of strength we have?" he said, pumping up the crowd Friday.
Officials estimate New York could face about $7 billion in cuts.
"This plan is bad for America. It's even worse for New York," Schumer said.
There is no question that New York's Medicaid program is massive. And the senate minority leader said 2.7 million New Yorkers could lose their coverage because of this plan.
The bill, officials said, hits large Medicaid-dependent states like New York harder than elsewhere. For one, the state expanded Medicaid under Obamacare.
The proposal would slash funding for that, and it would also cut funding for states whose cost-per-capita for Medicaid is above average.
That's New York, too.
"It does punish New York and states like us," said Stanley Brezenoff of NYC Health + Hospitals. "This is like a body blow to us if it goes through."
Schumer said he is optimistic the Senate GOP will not get the votes to push the bill through next week.
The Saltzmans are counting on it.