Ulster County exec wants citizens to testify about Obamacare repeal impacts

Mike Hein (file photo by Nicole Terpening)

County executive Mike Hein wants people to come to Kingston next week and testify at a public forum about how the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act would affect their lives.

Hein issued an executive order on Monday, March 13 directing county health and mental health commissioner Dr. Carol Smith to, in 30 days time, put together a report on what it would cost the county and its residents in both dollars and quality and access to care if, as the GOP is planning, Obamacare goes away. In a press release, county finance commissioner Burt Gulnick is quoted as saying Ulster County is responsible for $60 million in Medicaid costs. “That amount could drastically increase and have a direct negative impact on local property taxpayers,” Gulnick stated.

In an interview Monday, Hein said Smith told him that Obamacare repeal was in her opinion “the most imminent threat to public health for the residents of Ulster County.”

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“This is a fundamental issue of public health,” said Hein. “We need to be able to make sure there’s clear testimony on the impact of ACA repeal.”

The meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 in the sixth-floor legislative chambers at the county office building at Fair and Main streets in Uptown Kingston. “Everyone will have an opportunity to have their voice heard on this issue,” Hein said.

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