Nearly 540,000 New Jerseyans stand to lose health insurance by 2026 if a Republican rewrite of the Affordable Care Act that passed the House this year becomes law, according to a report released Wednesday by a liberal think tank, New Jersey Policy Perspective.
Those coverage losses would stem mostly from a reduction of funding for a Medicaid expansion that Gov. Chris Christie accepted in 2013 under the ACA. Policy Perspective estimated that would “result in a $28 billion loss in federal funds over 10 years and cut about 54,000 jobs.”
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3) was one of the primary architects of an amendment that got the American Health Care Act past the House; the bill is now before the Senate. MacArthur has stood by the AHCA in the face of heated criticism, arguing that it would improve glaring and costly problems in the Affordable Care Act, such as ballooning premiums for some consumers and an exodus by health insurers from new state health insurance marketplaces created by Obamacare.
The NJPP report is largely in line with an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimated that the AHCA would cut the federal deficit by $110 billion over 10 years and would leave 23 million more Americans without health insurance. A recent analysis of the CBO score by another group found that 470,000 of those affected would be New Jersey residents.
MacArthur spokeswoman Camille Gallo blasted the NJPP analysis as a “dumpster fire report from a liberal special interest group.”
“The truth is simple: The individual marketplace is on the brink of collapse, premiums are soaring, deductibles are through the roof, insurers are leaving in droves, and choices are evaporating,” she said. “Congressman MacArthur doesn’t waste his time pontificating about special interest group reports. He is busy working on fixing the big problems facing our nation, which many in the media and liberal special interest world would prefer to ignore.”
According to NJPP, MacArthur’s district would see a 112 percent increase in the number of uninsured residents. The only other New Jersey House member to vote yes on the legislation was Rep. Rodney Frelinhuysen (R-11). NJPP said that Frelinghuysen’s district could see a 100 percent spike in the number of uninsureds.
MacArthur has also gone on offense against the CBO since its score was released in May.
“The Affordable Care Act is on the brink of collapse and no bureaucratic government report can change that,” MacArthur said in a statement last month. “While I certainly respect the work of the Congressional Budget Office and the staff there, it is important to remember how wildly inaccurate they have been on projections related to the Affordable Care Act: Their projections on enrollment in the ACA in 2016 were off by a staggering 12 million people — or 120 percent.”
Correction (June 22): This story has been updated to reflect that the Congressional Budget Office did not estimate that 470,000 fewer New Jerseyans would have health coverage through 2026 if the American Health Care Act became law. The CBO calculated that 23 million fewer Americans would have coverage, and a separate group produced the 470,000 estimate for New Jersey. The AHCA also does not eliminate a Medicaid expansion for the states, although it does reduce reimbursement rates substantially.