PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester) on Wednesday criticized Republicans who are trying to defund the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
"In all my years of Congress, I have never seen a time like this," Lowey said at the Senior Community Center in Port Chester. The Republicans' refusal to fund the government unless the act is cut would reduce Medicare benefits for seniors and increase health costs, Lowey said.
"To me, it's just a waste of time and money for us to keep fighting about something that's already the law of the land," she said. "It's just partisan politics, and we need to work together."
Instead of fighting over the Affordable Care Act, Lowey said that legislators need to focus on the economy and putting people back to work. She said that shutting down the government would have an adverse effect on the economy.
"For this to go on and push our economy right to the brink of catastrophe is just wrong."
If the act is defunded, 107,000 seniors would no longer receive free preventative services such as bone density tests and annual wellness physicals, she said. She also said that 16,832 seniors would lose access to their Medicare Advantage plans. The average price of prescription drugs would increase $820 for the 9,100 seniors in the 17th Congressional District, which she represents.
"To close down the United States of America's credit rating at a time when Congress is debating other serious fiscal policies is really madness. This is outrageous, and we're not going to allow it," she said.
She said that if members of Congress have a problem with a piece of legislation like the Affordable Care Act, they should work together to improve the legislation. To spend time arguing about it is a waste of taxpayer money, she said. Lowey has faith that efforts to overturn the act will fail.
"We expect they're going to reject this draconian measure, and maybe it's going to take three or four days for the Tea Party crowd to realize they can't win. It's just a waste of time."