TRENTON – Senate Health Chairman Joseph F. Vitale (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement today on reports that President Trump will sign an executive order Thursday that would undermine the Affordable Care Act and the protections afforded to consumers under the federal law:
“Make no mistake, the executive order President Trump plans to sign on health care is not to create ‘great health care’ but to destroy the individual market. His comment that it will ‘cost the United States nothing’ is contrary to the facts. It will cost the sickest Americans dearly, and all of us will ultimately pay a high price for his action.
“Trump’s executive order will allow for the creation of ‘associations’ of people who want to come together to purchase insurance across state lines with few mandated protections. The creation of ‘associations’ exempt from the ACA protections will eviscerate the individual market, by dragging out healthy people who opt to purchase cheap, bare-bones plans.
“The result will be a market of healthy people with low-coverage plans who without even basic preventive care will end up in ERs, and a market of higher utilizers with protections but far higher and likely unaffordable premiums. Once forced out of the market by the unmanageable cost, these patients will also seek care in emergency rooms. The tab for emergency care that is not covered by insurance, and cannot be paid by patients, will be borne by states through charity care – which is taxpayer-funded.
“This is not about creating great health care. This is a way to gut the Affordable Care Act, and will turn back nearly a decade’s worth of progress on health care.
“In the midst of all this, let us not forget that Congress is 11 days late on reauthorizing CHIP and parents across the country will start receiving notices that their kids are no longer covered.
“As I have been forced to do several times since January, I ask our federal representatives and I ask Governor Christie, with his direct line to the White House, to do everything in their power to stop this executive order and make clear to the President what a harmful, destructive policy this would be.”