Latest Health Bill Would Deeply Cut Funding for New Jersey

New Jersey among the hardest hit states, with a 53 percent cut in funding by 2026.

Published on Aug 25, 2017 in Health

A new ACA repeal bill would cut New Jersey’s annual federal funding for health coverage by $4.7 billion by 2026, according to a new report by the Washington DC based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Garden State would be among the hardest hit states under the plan, with a cut of 53 percent to federal funding for health coverage in 2026, compared to current law.

Congressional Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have failed in recent months in large part because a large majority of Americans oppose taking coverage from millions of people, raising costs for millions more, gutting Medicaid and undermining consumer protections.

This has opened the door to a better path: a transparent, bipartisan effort to strengthen our health care system without taking people’s coverage away or gutting Medicaid. The public supports this approach and bipartisan Senate hearings slated for September offer a first step forward.

Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham are reportedly working with the White House to block this emerging, bipartisan option and instead revive the ACA repeal effort by pushing their own version of a repeal bill, the Cassidy-Graham proposal.

Despite claims to the contrary, the Cassidy-Graham plan is in many respects worse for New Jersey than  previous, failed GOP repeal bills, which were already a disaster for the state.

For example, New Jersey sees a deeper cut in federal funding for the Medicaid expansion and the ACA marketplace subsidies through 2026, simply because it has the highest population density and third highest per-capita income among all states – but, of course, it also has one of the highest costs of living. The state would also be punished because it has one of the most successful Medicaid expansions in the nation.

The plan would eliminate the ACA Medicaid expansion, which covers 546,000 New Jerseyans, starting in 2027. It would also eliminate tax credits that help 265,000 moderate-income residents afford marketplace coverage and subsidies that help low-income New Jerseyans with out-of-pocket health costs like copays.

A far smaller block grant would replace both Medicaid expansion funding and marketplace subsidies. The plan would also cap and deeply cut the rest of the Medicaid program just like previous Senate and House repeal bills. And, after 2026, the block grant would disappear entirely, leaving Garden State residents high and dry.

The public and groups representing patients, hospitals, physicians, seniors, people with disabilities and others have forcefully rejected this misguided approach. It’s time to focus on bipartisan solutions that strengthen – rather than weaken – our health care system.