Federal health care cuts that took place on Oct. 1, allegedly place 50,000 Hudson Valley children at risk.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on Congress to reinstate federal health care cuts that put 49,631 Hudson Valley children at risk.

According to the Governor’s Office, by not reauthorizing the Child Health Insurance Plan by October 1, Congress has slashed $1 billion in funding for New York and jeopardized health care for millions of children across the country, including 350,000 children in New York and nearly 50,000 in the Hudson Valley.

The Child Health Insurance Plan is a safety net that gives preventive health care critical for children that come from families who don't qualify for Medicaid, but can't afford any other insurance coverage.

"It is unconscionable that the federal government is implementing draconian health care cuts that target our children and the most vulnerable among us," Cuomo said. "This is not a partisan issue, and the stakes are too high to continue to play petty politics. I call on Congress to renew these essential health care programs, and I urge all New Yorkers to make their voices heard and tell their representatives to protect our health care."

At the direction of Gov. Cuomo, New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued a letter to the Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan warning that New York cannot continue the current Child Health Plus program without federal funding. The letter said that if Congress fails to renew funding for the program in the next few weeks, Cuomo will be forced to call a special session of the Legislature.

"This Congress is again placing dollar signs before vital signs and putting hundreds of thousands of New York children, and millions of low-income residents, in danger," Zucker said.

Cuts to health care on Oct. 1, also cut $138 million in federal funding for New York's 650 federally qualified health center sites, officials say.

"New York's health care system is under assault by the federal government, and our children and the most vulnerable among us are their targets," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "We must tell our representatives in Washington to restore funding for the Child Health Insurance Plan and Federally Qualified Health Centers and not to abandon our fellow New Yorkers. Enough is enough. Congress needs to stop playing politics over people's lives."

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