Trump's New Vow To Kill Obamacare Would Force Another 600K N.J. Residents To Go Without Health Insurance

WASHINGTON — The number of New Jerseyans who don’t have health insurance would grow by 595,000 under President Donald Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.

The Urban Institute, a Washington research group, said the ranks of the uninsured in the state would be 1.3 million without the health care law in place, an 81 percent increase over the 732,000 currently without insurance.

The loss in federal funding to the state: $2.7 billion, 40 percent less than the current $6.7 billion New Jersey now receives in subsidies to help lower-income residents buy insurance and to cover the expansion of Medicaid to insure more people.

“Washington has put thousands of New Jersey families at risk,” said Dan Bryan, a spokesman for Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy has worked to shore up protections for state policyholders under the health care law against efforts by Trump and congressional Republicans to weaken them.

But that wouldn’t stop residents from losing their coverage, said Ray Castro, health policy director for New Jersey Policy Perspective, a progressive research group.

“It’s helpful but it won’t solve the problem. It’s the funding issue," Castro said. “These protections are not going to be sufficient to avoid a major loss in health coverage because of the loss of federal funds.”

NJPP’s 2017 study, conducted when Trump and congressional Republicans first tried to repeal the health care law, found 839,000 New Jerseyans at risk of losing health coverage, costing the state $4 billion in federal funds.

After a midterm election where voters said health care was their top concern and House Democrats won 40 seats and a majority, Trump again called for doing away with the Affordable Care Act, which, among other things, protects those with pre-existing conditions.

“If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out, we’ll have a plan that is far better than Obamacare,” Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday.

Trump, whose proposed in his budget to repeal the health care law, asked a federal appeals court earlier this week to declare the entire measure unconstitutional. That didn’t sit well with New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee that has jurisdiction over health care.

“In the past, the president certainly suggested that he was supportive of parts of it, supportive of not discriminating against pre-existing conditions,” Pallone said. “It’s totally hypocritical. I can’t believe anything the president says any more.”

House Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation to reverse steps taken by Trump and congressional Republicans to roll back the law’s protections. That also was the subject of bills considered by Pallone’s health subcommittee on Wednesday.

Murphy is doing the same thing in Trenton.

A new state law requires residents to have insurance or pay a penalty, reinstating the individual mandate that Republicans eliminated nationwide in their tax law.

Murphy announced that the state would run its own exchange to sell health policies rather rely on the federal government, allowing the state to publicize insurance options and get people to sign up. The Trump administration has slashed funding for such outreach.

In addition, Murphy asked the legislature to pass a law ensuring that insurance policies sold in the state do not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, prohibit lifetime and annual limits, require all plans to provide certain health benefits, and allow children to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26.

"By transitioning to a state-based exchange and codifying ACA protections in state law, Governor Murphy is taking control of the state’s future away from a hostile presidential administration, protecting the state’s residents, and preserving access to life-saving medical intervention for those who need it most,” Bryan said.

Original Article