Healthcare in New Jersey heading toward a zombie apocalypse.

In the midst of blaring, daily headline news about the many dangerous deeds of Trump and Congress, lost are the consequences of the administration’s recent actions and threatened future actions regarding healthcare in New Jersey and the nation. Here there are still about 700,000 residents without coverage. Enrollment in the ACA marketplace which provides subsidies for most users has decreased by 20,000 New Jerseyans leaving the 275,000 now enrolled to face a 10% annual cost increase over most of the next ten years.  Most threatened is Medicaid (here called NJ Family Care) which has 1,758,274 residents enrolled.

America spends far more than other countries on healthcare and with worse outcomes. The most recent data for 2015 indicates U. S. per capita expenditures of $9,024 in comparison with $6,787 for Switzerland, $5,119 for Germany, $4,506 for Canada, and $3,971 for Britain. A 2017 state-by-state report on expenditures ranks NJ the 15th highest at $8.859 in comparison with the highest being Alaska at $11,064 and the lowest being Utah at $5,982.

The most recent  healthcare news has been Trump’s “An American Budget” proposal released last week. The plan eliminates the health care law’s premium subsidies, rolls back its Medicaid expansion, caps Medicaid spending and targets Medicare. — all in favor of block grants for state-sponsored health insurance programs.

Trump’s plan resembles  a bill put forward last year which would have turned much of Obamacare’s funding for Medicaid expansion and premium subsidies into block grants for states to create their own health care programs. It would also overhaul Medicaid with a per-person spending cap. That plan was projected to lead to 20 million fewer Americans having health insurance in 2026, versus Obamacare, and a $215 billion cut to federal health care spending over 10 years. The net result expected was a $675 billion federal spending cut by 2028. That includes a $1.4 trillion cut to Medicaid (offset by spending on the block grants) after Trump promised during his presidential campaign not to cut the program.

Trump’s full plan isn’t expected to become enacted by congress but claw backs to Medicaid are clearly on the Republican-led government agenda.

Calling what is now happening a zombie apocalypse is not too exaggerated as we are seeing a widespread rise of seeming zombies, at both the federal and local level, who are hostile to human life and engaging in a general assault on our civilization.

Other existing and future attacks against NJ healthcare will be discussed in succeeding posts. In the next installment we will look particularly at the individual mandate, requiring everyone to either enroll in a health plan or pay a fine. Trump and congress terminated this requirement which can only further increase substantially health plan costs for us. The problem is being addressed by both Governor Murphy and our legislature.

 

Above people participate in the Women’s March Alliance Die-in for Healthcare. Credit: (Andrew Gombert / EPA).   Preview photo credit: Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

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