Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Thursday released new health care legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. The bill has some differences from the American Health Care Act passed by the House in May but as they did with the House bill, many of New Jersey’s elected officials are reacting negatively to the Senate legislation.
Here’s what members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation have said about the Senate bill:
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D)
New Jersey’s senior senator slammed the legislation drafted by his GOP colleagues at an event held at a federally-funded health care center in Newark on Friday. According to Menendez, the new bill could be worse for New Jersey than the House version. He claims that it will result in tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of cutting care for others.
Read the recap of his event here.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D)
Booker said that the Senate bill will be funded with an “unprecedented gutting of Medicaid.”
“It is painfully clear that this bill — developed in secret, with no public input, accountability, or transparency — was never intended to give better health coverage to more people, it was deliberately crafted to protect and increase the wealth of the few,” he said in a statement. “Under this version of Trumpcare, just like the last, millions of Americans will lose health coverage, health costs will go up, and the quality of coverage will go down — all to give the richest Americans a huge tax cut.”
Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1)
The GOP Senate health care bill is called the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.” Norcross said that is a misnomer and that the bill’s name is “deceitful.”
“Similar to the harmful bill that passed the House, this plan drastically reduces essential and preventative care for millions of families,” he said. “It again turns its back on our children, women, seniors and our neighbors struggling with the disease of addiction. “A handful of male Senators sat behind closed doors to decide the fate of millions of Americans. And, unfortunately, the fate of American families is not looking good today.”
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2)
LoBiondo was one of the House Republicans to vote no on the AHCA, primarily due to the rollback of Medicaid expansion. On Twitter, he said he is currently reviewing the Senate bill but that “serious concerns that justified NO vote on House bill remain.”
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3)
MacArthur was one of the main authors of the AHCA amendment that earned the bill enough support to pass in the House last month. He told CNN on Thursday that the Senate bill was a “move in the right direction” that built off the House framework.
“So far, I think it is a bill we can work with,” MacArthur said. “This is a discussion draft that many of those senators are just seeing today… I think the Senate is going to have to do the exact same thing we did in the House, find a way to bridge this divide and do two critical things: bring down cost for everyone and protect the most vulnerable.”
MacArthur said getting a new health care bill passed was critical due to collapsing markets.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6)
On Twitter, Pallone said: “Americans deserve better than a Congress that’s willing to trade away their health care for tax cuts for the rich and corporations.”
Rep. Albio Sires (D-8)
In a statement, Sires said that the GOP Senate bill would lead to extreme cuts for Medicaid.
“After working so hard to hide their plan from the American people, Senate Republicans finally released their version of Trumpcare and it is just as heartless as the one House Republicans rushed through the chamber last month,” Sires said.”Like the House plan, the Senate GOP’s plan means higher health care costs, millions of hard-working Americans losing health coverage, key protections stripped, and a crushing age tax on seniors- all while providing a massive tax cut for the rich.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9)
Like his Democratic colleagues, Pascrell also said in a statement that the GOP bill provides the “gilded class” a tax cut.
Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10)
On Thursday, Payne spoke on the House Floor to oppose the Senate Republicans bill.
“I do not understand how anyone could support this,” Payne said. Watch the video here.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12)
During an interview with BOLD, Watson Coleman called the Senate plan a “shift in wealth and priority” and instead called for improvements to Obamacare.
Other statements issued following the legislation’s reveal:
Phil Murphy, Democratic candidate for NJ governor
On Twitter, Murphy said he will not sit “idly by as Trump tries to bully 800K New Jerseyans out of healthcare” and said he will resist the legislation.
New Jersey Policy Perspective
The liberal think tank said that the Senate bill was a “warmed over” version of the House bill.