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Rep. Delgado Discusses Health Care, Broadband Needs

Congressman Antonio Delgado
Antonio Delgado, official portrait, 116th Congress
public domain

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado recently held a conference call with reporters, speaking to a wide range of issues during his second in-district work week since taking office.

Congressman Delgado, a freshman Democrat from New York’s 19th District, began by addressing the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released March 22 on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He says Congress and the public should see the entire report.

“I’d also believe it’s imperative that those of us here do the work to maintain a sense of commitment here to the needs of folks across the country beyond the investigation,” Delgado says. “And that includes focusing on health care, that includes focusing on investing in our infrastructure, that includes, in my case, achieving rural broadband for upstate New Yorkers, making sure we deal with water contamination issues.”

Delgado says that while travelling across the district, he has been focusing on health care, touring hospitals and health-care facilities in Columbia, Delaware and Sullivan Counties.

“And one of the things that I really wanted to spotlight while I was home was the need for focusing on telehealth, or telemedicine, given the lack of rural broadband,” Delgado says. “There’s a real intersectionality between being in a rural community, the lack of access and the lack of broadband access in particular and how all these things come together and have a profound effect on communities like the ones I represent who need real access points.”

This comes as the Trump administration says the Affordable Care Act should be struck down. Delgado says constituents are clamoring for more health services, not less.

“We have every right to be concerned about the aggressive and reckless approach the Administration is taking,” says Delgado. “Not only are they seeking to undermine the ACA, but they’re not even offering anything in the alternative. They are literally allowing people to fall off the cliff here. And it is downright immoral.”

Delgado says he is also working on universal health care measures.

“I am exactly where I was throughout the campaign, and that is working tirelessly to now achieve, now that I’m in office, a public option,” says Delgado. “I am working very hard to make sure that we have some form of legislation that addresses and achieves a public option. I think we’re getting there.”

The Democrat says he has signed onto two pieces of legislation that would give Medicare negotiating power with pharmaceutical companies to lower the costs of prescription medications.

In addition, Delgado says he is getting into the weeds on rural broadband. He says alongside New York state’s $500 million broadband effort, there is much to be done on the national level.

“We are not focusing enough on the granular level of two things; one, speed, and making sure that folks have the optimum level of speed; and, two, how we are mapping out the broadband,” Delgado says.

For example, he says if one home has broadband access of a particular speed, that house could be used to represent an entire community. Delgado says there needs to be street-level, household-level mapping, and he is working on this legislatively.

Delgado says his focus continues on economic development and agriculture. Delgado sits on the Agriculture; Small Business; and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.

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