Senator Says Graham-Cassidy Bill Would Decimate Health Coverage in NJ
TRENTON – Senate Health Chairman Joseph F. Vitale (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement on the Affordable Care Act replacement bill sponsored by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA):
“The Senate Republicans’ repeal and replace bill would be disastrous for New Jersey. All reports indicate that our state would lose billions of dollars in federal funding under this proposal, which would decimate coverage for our most vulnerable residents. The legislation eliminates the individual mandate, the employer mandate, federal subsidies, and ends the Medicaid expansion. It repeals important protections that prevent insurers from charging patients more for pregnancy, metastatic cancer and pre-existing conditions and allows premiums to skyrocket for older Americans.
“This proposal comes as a bipartisan group of senators were working on ways to improve the Affordable Care Act and as governors put forward recommendations to help stabilize the markets. The Senate Republicans soundly rejected all of that work in an attempt to hastily pass a bill that would result in the loss of coverage for millions of Americans and New Jerseyans.
“The sponsors are attempting to promote the block grant concept as an opportunity to innovate, but the fact is that it will only end up hamstringing states and prevent them from responding to emergencies such as the opioid crisis that is taking the lives of people throughout New Jersey and this country.
“I am happy to see the Governor came out today in opposition to Graham-Cassidy. I urge him to use his influence with the Trump Administration to protect the thousands of people in New Jersey who will lose healthcare if this plan is passed. As the person tapped to lead the president’s national opioid response effort, he certainly knows that this bill will not allow us to continue our work in New Jersey to address this problem nor will it allow other states to take on this epidemic. It will also impede the progress made on integrating behavioral and physical healthcare, as insurers would not be required to cover mental health services.
“This proposal is beyond bad policy – it is nothing short of cruel. I am hopeful the Senate rejects this effort, and call on our Congressional representatives to use every tool at their disposal to defeat this latest repeal and replace plan.”