Call on the Administration to End Actions That Destabilize the Market

 

Trenton – Health care advocates, including provider organizations, unions, and consumer groups, stood united at the Statehouse today to applaud last week’s defeat of three GOP proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The groups called on President Trump to support the ACA and cease any actions that would destabilize the insurance market and threaten health care for millions.

Maura Collinsgru, New Jersey Citizen Action Health Care Program Director and Convener of the NJ for Health Care Coalition said, “We’ve made great progress in expanding access to health care under the ACA.  And while we celebrate the death of repeal today, we remain vigilant. We call on all our elected officials to unite with us to put an end to actions that would destabilize the market and strip coverage and protections from millions. People’s lives are on the line.”

Administrative attempts (in progress or proposed) to undermine the ACA include:

  1. Weakening enforcement of the individual mandate;
  2. Threatening not to make Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments;
  3. Canceling enrollment assistor contracts;
  4. Failing to do advertising or outreach for enrollment;
  5. Shortening the open enrollment period from 12 to 6 weeks;
  6. Redefining Essential Health Benefits

 

Such actions would be as destructive to health care in New Jersey as the legislative proposals defeated last week.   Repeal would have resulted in the loss of coverage and protections for millions in the Marketplace, cuts and caps to Medicaid and the loss of billions of federal dollars to New Jersey.   The groups echoed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call that it is “time to move on” and shore up the ACA Marketplace, subsidies and outreach and enrollment efforts.

Linda Schwimmer, President & CEO of New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute also urged unity stating, “No one political party or select group can solve the problems in our health care system. Fixing such a personal and important part of our society will take all of us working together to build a system that promotes better health and provides insurance that is affordable and useable by everyone.  Our federal and state leaders must take a bi-partisan approach to make critical short-term fixes to the ACA today while also working on long-term improvements for the future. For today, that means a commitment to paying the cost sharing reductions to help people pay for out-of-pocket expenses, enforcing the individual and employer mandates, and helping people enroll in marketplace plans. For the future, that means a national commitment to protecting those with the highest needs and building a health care system that we can afford.”

Today’s rally recognized the efforts of health care advocates and activists in defeating the repeal.

“The actions of patients and professionals who have stood up to protect healthcare coverage for millions has brought us to this day of celebration. Healthcare workers have seen firsthand how the ACA and Medicaid have benefited patients and communities by improving access to and the delivery of care throughout the healthcare system.” said Bridget Devane, Director, Public Policy, HPAE, AFT/AFL-CIO. “Today is a day to celebrate yet we must remain vigilant in the long haul to stop the continued attacks on our nation’s healthcare coverage programs.”

Several speakers applauded the bi-partisan opposition among New Jersey representatives to repeal.  Three of the state’s five Republican Congressmen joined Democrats in opposing repeal due to concerns they would seriously undermine the state’s expanded Medicaid program that has enabled more than 550,000 New Jerseyans to enroll in NJ Family Care.  John Sarno, President of the New Jersey Employers Association touted the benefit of the ACA Medicaid expansion stating, “Expanded Medicaid has greatly enhanced the health and productivity of workers at no cost to employers.”

Sean Hopkins, New Jersey Hospital Association’s senior vice president of federal relations and health economics, stated, “New Jersey lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have played leading roles in this important issue. We urge our elected leaders to continue now in a bipartisan fashion to fix what needs fixing in the Affordable Care Act, to strengthen the health insurance marketplace and to preserve insurance coverage for NJ residents.

In the end, the coalition paid tribute to the thousands of grassroots activists who have been at the forefront of the ACA repeal fight.  Hetty Rosenstein, NJ Director for Communications Workers of America who has been a leader of the resistance movement stated, “We will fight and put our lives on the line to save healthcare for millions of Americans. The Republicans can put up yet another version of repeal, and another and another.  We will never surrender.  We will organize and we will resist and we will prevail.”

The coalition will continue to push for health care reform that increases access to quality, affordable health care for all New Jerseyans.  “Congressional leaders insisting on stripping health care from millions of Americans have failed, again. And many of the proposals to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act are simply not fixable, stated Ray Castro, New Jersey Policy Perspective Health Policy Director. “It’s time for Congress to shift its focus to improving the ACA instead of destroying it. Polls show this is what the American public wants – and it is what we all deserve.”