Says Federal Health Reform is an Important Investment in State’s Efforts to Expand Health Care Access to Uninsured
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, State Senator Joseph F. Vitale, the Vice Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, testified before a Congressional subcommittee in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P-PACA), the federal law which enacted necessary health care reforms in order to expand access to care for the uninsured.
“P-PACA, while imperfect, has created a framework for States to follow to provide universal, portable, affordable and sustainable health care access to the 47 Million uninsured people in the United States,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, who has sponsored a number of bills in the New Jersey Legislature to expand health care access to uninsured New Jerseyans. “So many Americans who struggle every day, work hard for their families and do the right thing, will by and large never afford the cost of health insurance and the care that all of us with an insurance card enjoy. At the end of the day, the interest of American consumers must remain at the nexus of the debate on federal health care reform.”
Senator Vitale’s testimony to the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, comes at a time when Republicans in Congress are considering initiatives to defund several key aspects of P-PACA. Among the program components on the chopping block are: State-based health insurance exchange grants, prevention and public health funding, school-based health centers and primary health care workforce development. These reform components touch nearly every aspect of health care in New Jersey, from loan redemption programs for health care professionals and nurse education incentives, to AIDS/HIV treatment and testing, to expanding access to affordable, quality health care for uninsured individuals.
“If not for P-PACA, there is only so much that any individual state can afford to do on its own in this difficult economic climate,” said Senator Vitale. “Our hard work in New Jersey, to date – in partnership with the federal government – has assisted countless New Jersey families and children who would otherwise have had their health jeopardized because they were uninsured. Our State’s efforts have only been enhanced by passage of P-PACA. The proposals up for consideration today to defund critical components of health care reform would drive our efforts in New Jersey to a screeching halt.”