Senate Health Bill a Warmed-Over Version of House Bill

The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is nothing more than a warmed-over version of the House bill, which would cause great harm to the health and economic security of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans. The Senate proposal revealed today retains all the major provisions in the House bill that would harm New Jerseyans the most – and in some cases makes even deeper cuts.

The bill would cause New Jersey’s uninsurance rate to skyrocket. (We will not have the final estimate until the Congressional Budget Office completes its analysis, but the phase out of the Medicaid expansion alone would cause the number of uninsured to increase by up to 400,000.)

Specifically, the bill:

  • Effectively repeals the Medicaid expansion that assists 562,000 New Jerseyans. They would lose coverage at a slower rate than under the House bill – but the bottom line is that they would all still likely lose their health coverage. The federal matching rate would be reduced starting in 2021 in the Senate bill, instead of 2020 in the House bill, and it would be phased down over three years. However, many states may not have the funding to pay for the higher state matching rate so they may have to end the expansion for new applicants the first year anyway.
  • Continues the radical restructuring of Medicaid by permanently capping and reducing the funding needed to serve 1.6 million New Jersey seniors, people with disabilities and children. In fact, the Senate makes even deeper cuts to Medicaid.
  • Raises premiums and eliminates subsidies that help reduce costs for New Jersey consumers. There are up to 350,000 New Jerseyans who buy their own insurance who could end up paying much more. This would be an even greater problem when over a half million New Jersey residents lose their Medicaid expansion coverage and must turn to the marketplace for insurance.
  • Allows states to drop basic services like maternity care, mental health and drug treatment. Insurers could in effect still deny insurance to people with pre-existing conditions by simply eliminating the benefits they need from their coverage. It is estimated that 24 percent of all non-elderly residents, or 1.2 million people, have a preexisting condition in New Jersey.
  • Allows insurers to charge older residents five times more than younger adults for their coverage. Over half of everyone in the New Jersey marketplace is age 35 or older.
  • Includes huge tax cuts for the wealthy. Millionaires in New Jersey would receive a tax cut averaging $50,000, which would only increase the enormous income and wealthy inequality in the state.