Introducing Essential Health Benefits Requirement, Universal Health Care System Bill
TRENTON – Senator Nia H. Gill (D-Essex, Passaic) issued the following statement on today’s vote in the House of Representatives on the American Health Care Act, the Trump-backed proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. Senator Gill was the sponsor of legislation to create a state health exchange, also known as the Marketplace. She also sponsored legislation to expand Medicaid under the ACA:
“What we saw in Washington today was disgraceful. In a single day, Republicans scheduled and voted to dismantle the law that provided health care coverage to an additional 20 million Americans, including more than 700,000 in New Jersey. They voted to strip away provisions that require insurers to include emergency room and maternity coverage in their policies. They also voted to eliminate the broad prohibition on insurance companies charging more for coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, under the so-called MacArthur amendment. It is shameful that the sponsor of this proposal is from New Jersey.
“People all across the country and in this state would be devastated by this bill, and Republicans arrived on Capitol Hill to take the vote literally in celebration.
“We have a responsibility to protect our residents. Today prior to the vote, Paul Ryan said, ‘Let’s return power from Washington to the states.’ Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what I am going to do.
“I will introduce legislation to ensure that essential health benefits are protected for New Jersey residents. In addition, I am currently reviewing how we can best ensure that people with pre-existing conditions aren’t discriminated against in order to protect them from being charged more for coverage.
“Health care is a human right and we must guarantee that this right is protected under the Trump Administration. New Jersey must begin to explore implementing a universal health care system that can protect residents over the long term. I am proud to say that I will be sponsoring legislation in the Senate to do this and will be introducing it at our next quorum.”