The latest Senate health bill that was released today is just as bad for New Jersey as the previous iterations, and would cause widespread loss of health care and increase suffering across the state.
Even though national polls show that nine in ten Americans oppose Medicaid cuts, the Republicans in D.C. seem hell-bent on destroying Medicaid and effectively ending the Medicaid expansion, which would harm New Jersey more than other states.
In fact, the bill still ends the current federal funding level for the Medicaid expansion in 2021. This would likely result in about 560,000 New Jerseyans – or 10 percent of all non-elderly adults – losing their health coverage, the loss of up to $4 billion in federal funds each year and the elimination of tens of thousands of jobs.
In addition, it continues to cap and reduce funding for the entire Medicaid program by about $60 billion over 20 years in New Jersey. This radical proposal has nothing to do with improving the Affordable Care Act, but everything to do with a long-standing right-wing ideological attempt to gut Medicaid. This change would eventually result in massive health care cuts to the 1.6 million New Jerseyans who are covered through Medicaid, including hundreds of thousands of Garden State kids. New Jersey’s seniors and people with disabilities – who make up about two-thirds of all Medicaid funding – would be hit the hardest.
This bill would cause deeper harm in New Jersey than other states because the state has the eighth largest enrollment in the Medicaid expansion, and because the federal Medicaid matching rate in New Jersey would be reduced the lowest level possible: 50 percent.
While the new bill does increase premium subsidies in the health insurance marketplace as compared to earlier versions, most New Jerseyans would still receive less in subsidies than under current law. What’s more, any positive impact from premium subsidies would pale compared to the Medicaid cuts, because there are eight times as many people in Medicaid than there are receiving subsidies in New Jersey.