Reports Predict Massive Loss of Health Coverage in NJ Under AHCA

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who is leading the push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Photo: Chip Somodevilla for Getty Images

As Republicans in Congress continue their attempts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, two reports released Tuesday predict that New Jersey would stand to see massive losses of coverage for those who became newly insured when the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010.

The New Jersey estimates that Republicans’ replacement bill would result in loss of coverage for 800,000 people in the state and, cost 144,000 hospital jobs and increase the cost of charity care by more than $1 billion. Liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, meanwhile, estimates in its own report that accompanying tax breaks for rich residents would cause hikes of up to 30 percent for patients’ increased premiums.

The NJHA’s numbers on ACA repeal. New Jersey Hospital Association

“The best way to understand the American Health Care Act is to see it as a vehicle to shift income from working and poor families to the wealthy and as part of the plan to shift federal spending from a broad range of domestic services to the military budget. At the end of the day, the proposal put forth by Congressional Republicans is a prescription for disaster for New Jersey,” said Ray Castro, an analyst with the group.

“250 New Jersey millionaires would see their federal taxes reduced by an average of $57,000 a year – a $14 million break, all told – while thousands of low- and middle-income New Jerseyans would face 30 percent tax hikes as support for their health care premiums would shrink or disappear,” said the group’s Jon Whiten.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone also weighed in against the plan, which faces challenging odds despite Republican majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The revised American Health Care Act will go to a House vote Thursday, where it needs 216 supporters. No Democrat is likely to support it, and it has many more Republican critics than the 22 GOP votes it would take to kill it.

“Republicans claim they want to give states more flexibility and choice over how to run their Medicaid programs, but when you rob the states of $880 billion in funding over the next decade, governors and legislatures will have no choice but to cut services for the disabled, deny elderly patients nursing home care, and cover fewer low-income kids who deserve a fair shot at the American dream,” Menendez said.

“The Republican repeal bill would not protect patients, save money, or help working families; it is nothing but a drastic and devastating step backward,” Pallone said.