Speed Reads

points for honesty?

Republican congressman asks local paper to explain the effects of the health-care bill he voted to pass

New York Rep. Chris Collins (R) has already admitted to CNN he did not read the full text of the American Health Care Act, the GOP's health-care replacement bill that narrowly passed the House on Thursday. While Collins insisted he understands "this bill in its entirety" because his staff has read every word even if he himself has not, The Buffalo News had to inform the upstate New York congressman of the effects the bill would have on his own constituents:

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 Essential Plan is an optional program under ObamaCare, offered only by New York and Minnesota, that provides low-cost health insurance to low- and middle-income people who don't qualify for Medicaid. State Health Department figures show that more than 19,000 people in Erie and Niagara counties were on the Essential Plan in January.

Asked by The Buffalo News if he was aware of the bill's cut in funding to the Essential Plan, Collins said: "No. 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." [The Buffalo News]

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Collins said he voted in favor of the AHCA because it would "fix the finances of counties across New York for decades to come and, most importantly, keep money in the pockets of hardworking Western New Yorkers." You can read his full statement here.