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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill Thursday to dismantle much of Barack Obama’s health care law, proposing to cut Medicaid for low-income Americans and erase tax boosts that Obama imposed on high-earners and medical companies to finance his expansion of coverage.
The bill would provide tax credits to help people buy insurance. It would also let states get waivers to ignore some coverage standards that “Obamacare” requires of insurers.
The measure represents the Senate GOP’s effort to achieve a top tier priority for President Donald Trump and virtually all Republican members of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hopes to push it through his chamber next week.
Yet it faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.
At least a half-dozen GOP senators — conservatives as well as moderates — have complained about the proposal, the secrecy with which McConnell drafted it and the speed with which he’d like to whisk it to passage. Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, the bill would fail if just three of the Senate’s 52 GOP senators oppose it.
The measure would provide $50 billion over the next four years that states could use in an effort to shore up insurance markets around the country.
For the next two years, it would also provide money that insurers use to help lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of lower income people. Trump has been threatening to discontinue those payments, and some insurance companies have cited uncertainty over those funds as reasons why they are abandoning some markets and boosting premiums.
The House approved its version of the bill last month. Though he lauded its passage in a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump last week privately called the House measure “mean” and called on senators to make their version more “generous.”
Democrats say GOP characterizations of Obama’s law as failing are wrong and say the Republican plan would boot millions off coverage and leave others facing higher out-of-pocket costs.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the House bill would cause 23 million people to lose coverage by 2026. The budget office’s analysis of the Senate measure is expected in the next few days.
ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — A number of people are expected to testify in Albany Thursday morning, calling for the removal of Carl Paladino from the Buffalo Public Schools Board of Education.
The hearing began around 9 a.m. Witnesses will testify following Paladino’s controversial comments in an ArtVoice survey.
MORE | See his comments here.
Board of Education attorney Frank Miller’s opening statement said there was evidence that Paladino revealed confidential information.
“Mr. Paladino intends to be law unto himself…to be governed by his own self-importance,” Miller said.
Paladino’s attorney, Dennis Vacco, responded, arguing for free speech.
Calling Paladino’s comments about former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama “low and unnecessary,” Vacco said they were still constitutionally protected.
The board “almost never convened executive session correctly,” Vacco claimed, saying they “routinely discussed matters in executive session that should be public.”
According to Vacco, the board majority acts in a manner of “get on our team or remain silent.” He says Board President Barbara Nevergold allowed “public flogging” of Paladino at a December meeting.
“This petition is a phony petition. It’s covering the true intent to get Carl for his speech,” Vacco said.
Nevergold spoke after Vacco, saying Paladino was not exempt from board policies or their code of conduct.
“When you go into executive session, the information discussed is confidential,” Nevergold said.
Nevergold said that an executive session on Oct. 12 was for negotiations and strategies for bargaining with teachers. She claims Paladino later wrote about it, and that his articles were “quite disturbing.”
Paladino wrote that material from an executive session can be divulged after a contract is ratified, but the information is indefinitely confidential.
According to Paladino, the teacher contract negotiations were “criminal,” and he says he can release the information on them.
Jennifer Persico, who is serving as an attorney for Paladino, began a cross examination of Nevergold during the meeting.
Nevergold says she learned the logistics of an executive session from training, orientation and board attorneys.
Miller objected to Persico’s questioning of Nevergold, in regard to school budgeting.
When speaking of the contract for teachers, Nevergold said “Settling that contract after 12 years was a significant achievement by the board.”
After that, Persico began to discuss school district press releases that included some details on negotiations and offers to teachers.
From October until the end of January, seven out of nine meetings went into executive session. A meeting in January did not include Paladino or Larry Quinn.
“I invited the members who had voted to engage Mr. Miller as our attorney,” Nevergold said.
Check this story throughout the day for more information. Follow @DaveGreber4 on Twitter for updates.
…MARGINAL RISK of severe thunderstorms for all of our area both today and tomorrow…
More clouds will mix in with the sun Thursday, with a quick round of a few midday showers across the Niagara Frontier, then more scattered thunderstorms fire up closer to Pennsylvania by later in the afternoon . Much of the time it will be rainfree. It will become more humid during the afternoon. Evening showers and thunderstorms toward the Southern Tier and Northern Tier of Pennsylvania wind down, then expect a partly cloudy, mild and muggy night.
The risk of showers and a few thunderstorms increases getting into Friday with more pronounced rainfall across the Southern Tier in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, though some will impact the Niagara Frontier including the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro as well. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted our area for a marginal risk for all of our area today and again tomorrow, though I think the chances of catching a severe storm will be somewhat greater Friday.
It also looks as though the remnant moisture from Tropical Storm Cindy will be steered south of our region by the jet stream. Rain should clear out of the area for the upcoming weekend. There could be an early shower Saturday well south, toward Pennsylvania, then it becomes partly sunny. It should continue to be partly sunny Sunday with just a slight chance of an afternoon shower or thundershower.
Temperatures continue to be a bit cool. Unseasonably chill air will be entrenched in the area next week.
THURSDAY: Becoming Warmer and More Humid, Cloud and Sun Mix, a midday showers across the Niagara Frontier. More scattered Showers/Thunderstorms toward the Southern Tier and Northern Tier of PA, by later in the afternoon, High: 79-84, Wind: S 5-15
THURSDAY NIGHT: Evening Showers Thunderstorms end well south, Partly Cloudy, Mild and Muggy overnight, Low: 65-72, Wind: S 5-15
FRIDAY: Lots of Clouds, Scattered Showers and Thunderstorms mainly south of Buffalo, High: 78, Wind: SSW 10-20, Low: 63
SATURDAY: Partly Sunny, High: 75, Low: 58
SUNDAY: Partly Sunny, Slight Chance of an Afternoon Shower/Thundershower, High: 71, Low: 55
MONDAY: Cooler, Some Partial Sun, a Few Scattered Rain Showers Thundershowers, High: 69, Low: 57
TUESDAY: Very Cool, Lots of Clouds, a Few Scattered Rain Showers Thundershowers, High: 66, Low: 56
WEDNESDAY: Continued Cool, Partly Sunny, Still a Chance of an Afternoon Shower or Thundershower, High: 69, Low: 59
LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Police in Lancaster are investigating a fatal hit-and-run that happened overnight.
Authorities say the incident happened on Broadway near Pavement Rd., sometime early Thursday morning.
The victim was only identified as a 28-year-old man. Police say he was walking west on the road when he was struck by a westbound vehicle from behind.
Anyone with information on the incident can call the police department’s Accident Investigation Unit at (716) 683-2800 ext. 105.
LOVELOCK, Nev. (WIVB) — O.J. Simpson’s sister believes “The Juice” will soon be loose again.
Simpson has been in a prison in Nevada for the last nine years, but the former Buffalo Bills great will soon get to make his case for freedom.
Simpson was convicted of Armed Robbery and Kidnapping in 2008. A parole hearing has been scheduled for July 20.
His sister, Shirley Baker, told Inside Edition that he should be granted parole.
She says he is a model citizen, something he told the parole board he aspired to be.
In 2013, Simpson said “I tried to do what was expected of me here, and I gave them my word that I would try to be, or would be the best prisoner they ever had here.”
“He’s there,” Baker said. “He’s doing his time. He’s abiding by the rules, and I just hope and pray that they will give him parole.”
The parole board is expected to issue a ruling on Oct. 1.
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 17-year-old was charged with trying to kill a man in Cheektowaga early Thursday morning.
Police responded to an address on Atwood Pl. around 12:40 a.m. after a report of shots fired.
When they got there, police saw a 20-year-old man, who had been shot, on the porch of the residence.
Roquan Williams was found after officers searched the area. He was charged with Attempted Murder and Assault, and was taken into custody on $100,000.
The victim was treated and released from ECMC.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- The Emergency Department at ECMC is seeing a record number of overdose cases and people seeking addiction treatment.
They are working to adjust to higher demand. Family members of people struggling with addiction, however, reached out to News 4 frustrated with how the hospital is treating patients.
Michael Brady was three days shy of his 26th birthday when he died of an overdose in March. His mother told News 4 he tried to get into treatment four different times. She fought to get him into drug court and eventually a 28 day program.
He died less than a week after he left detox.
His mother, Deborah Palmer, said it is too difficult to get treatment in Western New York. She said it starts with the local hospitals, which treated her son after he overdosed twice on the same January day this year.
“The ambulance took him to ECMC and he was released later that day,” she said. “It should be mandatory that they’re into treatment no question about it. They’re leaving loved ones behind my son left a son behind, us.”
She sat down with another mother, Kathryn Gilmore, to share her story.
Gilmore’s daughter Arielle also struggled with addiction.
“She probably was in every outpatient treatment facility there was over the last four years and sometimes she did well and sometimes she didn’t,” said Gilmore.
She had to call 911 one day when her daughter overdosed in her house.
“We were able to revive her before they got there but we still had to take her down to ECMC,” said Gilmore.
She told News 4 the hospital gave her daughter a cab ride home that day.
Arielle eventually did get into ECMC’s 28 day detox program but died a few days after she was released, waiting to get into a halfway house.
“The facility cannot take them yet because they’re overcrowded, they don’t have room,” said Gilmore. “What do they do in the meantime? Well in my case you come home and you relapse and die so that’s the gap that I personally experienced.”
ECMC’s Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Michael Manka, told News 4 doctors are just as frustrated as parents.
“We are looking to expand options for follow up within 24 or 48 hours on this campus, we don’t have that established yet,” said Manka. “We are also looking for opportunities to try to treat patients who are going through withdrawal with medications that will make their withdrawal even less severe than what we’re currently doing so hopefully they don’t go out and just reuse again.”
He said they sometimes see 20 patients in a day seeking addiction help.
“The number of patients we see now coming in after unintentional overdoses has skyrocketed,” said Manka.
More than 220 people have been seen in the Emergency Department for substance abuse or detox this month. In May 2017, 323 patients were treated.
During all of 2016, the ED saw 3,908 patients for detox or substance abuse.
There are only 18 detox beds.
“We feel frustrated as healthcare providers as well,” said Manka. “We would like to be able to admit every one of the patients coming in looking for help with quitting their addiction but the reality is there’s just so many patients out there in the community, we can’t admit every patient that comes in. We try our best but we feel the frustration of families.”
He said each patients who comes into the ED is evaluated. If they are in stable condition, they’re monitored for four hours and then offered counseling from a substance abuse counselor. The patient is then either admitted to ECMC’s inpatient program or set up with an appointment at an outpatient program within 24 to 48 hours. He said it can be longer if there is a holiday weekend.
“We really know they sometimes have a near death experience and we really want to get them the help they need but, again, if the patient was awake and they really weren’t trying to hurt themselves and they are saying they want to leave, it’s difficult to force them to stay against their will,” said Manka.
He said they are currently researching the how long a patient needs to be observed after they receive narcan. Right now, they are using four hours as a baseline but they will reassess once the study is completed.
ECMC is getting ready for a $45 million expansion of the emergency department, they hope will allow them to treat more patients.
The hospital is a Level 1 trauma center.
Manka told News 4 they help patients who walk-in seeking help immediately but sometimes the wait can be longer if there is a high patient volume.