Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was at Albany Medical Center Monday, pushing back on cuts to a program he calls essential to maintain high-quality health care for patients in the Capital Region.

Back in the 1990s, Congress enacted the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which allows hospitals like Albany Med, that serve high numbers of uninsured patients, to purchase drugs at 20 to 50 percent discounts.

This has allowed health care organizations to expand services, while reducing patient costs.

In January, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services imposed a 28.5 percent cut to reimbursement for 340B drugs.

Senator Schumer says that could force hospitals to lay off staff and eliminate critical services.

There are five hospitals that stand to be affected in the Capital Region – Albany Med, Columbia Memorial, Ellis Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, and Nathan Littauer Hospital.

"It helps make the hospitals struggle to provide the very best healthcare, and every one of us, whether we are rich or poor, democrat or republican, liberal or conservative we want to make sure we have the best healthcare for our loved ones and ourselves,” said Schumer.

In total, Schumer says New York hospitals stand to lose more than $1.7 billion because of cuts to reimbursements for 340B drugs. He is urging the federal government to reverse the decision.