New Yorkers React to Health Care Bill With Hope, Caution

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    TK
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    BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14: Surgeons at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham conduct an operation on June 14, 2006, Birmingham, England. Senior managers of the NHS have said that the organisation needs to become more open in the future. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    New Yorkers are watching the outcome of the health care debate in Washington  closely, as a new federal health care bill could extend coverage to 700,000 city residents who are currently living without insurance.

    One of those New Yorker told NBCNewYork that he makes $16 per hour and works six days a week, but can't afford insurance.

    "Here I am 61 (years old), I have a hernia can’t afford to take care of it.  My wife has lymph node leukemia," the man, identified only as Anthony, said.

    He is hopeful that a new bill will give his family some relief.

    “Give me an answer… help me … not as an individual but as an American," he said.

    The bill that passed the House would provide coverage for Anthony as well as almost 700,00 New Yorkers.

    Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner said the bill will also benefit senior citizens.

    "At least 80,000 (seniors) we estimate who right now run into that medicare prescription drug donut hole now will have that gap filled," he said.

    Opponents of the bill argue it would increase health care costs increase the federal deficit… and add a tax burden to businesses that are already struggling in this economy.

    And opponents aren’t only Republican.

    Congressman Michael McMahon, a Democrat voted against the bill, said in a statement that “the cuts to Medicare will affect seniors in my district, the cuts to the Disproportionate Share Hospitals will make it harder for hospitals to service Staten Island and Brooklyn."

    Outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral, one woman said she was pleased that most cases of abortion would be excluded from coverage.

    "I like that I shouldn't have to pay for abortion," Peggy Leonard of West Babylon said. 

    An estimated 2.5 million people in New York state are currently uninsured, according to state census data.