‘Explain that to me’: GOP lawmaker needs local reporter to tell him what’s in health care bill he backed
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) drew widespread criticism on Thursday when he admitted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he hadn’t read the American Health Care Act, despite the fact that he had just voted in favor of it.
Despite the fact that Collins didn’t read the bill himself, he insisted that he was well informed of its contents because his aides had read it and summarized it for him.
However, when Collins was asked by the Buffalo News about the AHCA’s provision cutting a key program that directly affected his constituents, he admitted that he had no idea it was in the legislation.
“Told by a Buffalo News reporter that the state’s largest loss of federal funds under the bill would be $3 billion annually that goes to the state’s Essential Health Plan, Collins said: ‘Explain that to me,'” the Buffalo News reports.
The Essential Health Plan is a special carve-out within Obamacare that lets states provide low-cost health plans to low-and-middle-income people who don’t qualify for Medicaid. The Buffalo News estimates that 19,000 people in Collins’ district benefit from the plan, which would be completely axed by the AHCA.
When asked about this, Collins simply said that, “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.”