Following President Donald Trump’s endorsement Tuesday of House Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey are weighing in against the proposal. The plan would do away with the requirement that Americans gain health insurance and replace it with a system of tax credits mean to incentivize patients to buy private insurance.
The ACA, known as ‘Obamacare,’ has led to about 20 million more Americans being insured than in 2010, when it became law. While premium increases have affected some, Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto called for Republican governor Chris Christie, a personal friend of Trump’s, to persuade him to withdraw his support for the bill.
“Gov. Christie needs to immediately get on the phone to his friend President Trump and urge him to reject this House Republican health care debacle. The governor has touted his access to President Trump. Now is the time to take advantage of it,” Prieto said.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a progressive candidate for governor, characterized the plan as a boon for the rich who would benefit from accompanying tax cuts .
“This so-called plan is exactly what we should expect from a government run by Goldman Sachs executives. It punishes working families for not being able to afford insurance, while making sure greedy insurance executives make even more profits,” he said.
State Senators Nia Gill and Joseph Vitale also weighed in against the proposal, pointing to the losses of coverage that could affect those are currently insured under Obama-era Medicaid expansion.
“It would mean the loss of coverage for our most vulnerable through a rollback of the Medicaid expansion. It would get rid of important protections for consumers and penalize those who lose insurance when they re-enter the market, further hampering the ability of residents to get coverage,” Gill said. “It would eliminate the individual mandate, which was the central component of reform and the element that ensures its success, and would abolish the requirement that large employers offer coverage. In addition, it would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.”
“Replacing subsidies with a tax credit for purchasing coverage does nothing to help middle- and low-income families, and the additional burden of a 30 percent surcharge penalty on anyone who is late with their premium payment only serves to disadvantage those in need,” Vitale said. “The undoing of Medicaid expansion that has finally provided access to so many will eliminate coverage for low income working families, all the while handing the wealthiest Americans a significant tax cut.”