While Trump & NJ GOP candidates go low on ACA we must go high

“Despite recent progress made by New Jersey to keep health care coverage more affordable, the Trump administration continues to come up with new and harmful ways to do just the opposite.” – New Jersey Policy Perspective

With Trump’s day-after-day mind-blowing tweets and efforts to harm so many respected practices and institutions it’s easy to lose sight of what is happening. He has been clear about his goal, saying, “The best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode.” We must keep in mind that his undermining of ACA represents a grave danger for the health of New Jerseyans. 

In our midterm activism we have an opportunity to make support for ACA and healthcare in general a signature issue. In our congressional districts “in play,” below are the positions of the candidates, some of which are nuanced, represent change from earlier positions and even seem surprising. Some of our Democratic House candidates should be urged to be more supportive, and we should be aware that some Republicans are chameleons or try to avoid the issue.

CD 2 (open seat) 

Jeff Van Drew (D) has been fairly quiet on the matter and vaguely states in his website, “I want to ensure that reforms to the nation’s …  health insurance system … are beneficial to South Jersey families and business owners.” Elsewhere he expressed concern over the Trump administration plan to deny coverage of pre-existing conditionsSeth Grossman (R) seeks “repeal of remnants of Obamacare.”  

CD 3

Tom MacArthur (R) (I) is a strong supporter of “Repeal and Replace” ACA. He says he ran for Congress to solve big problems like ObamacareAndy Kim (D) says his desire to run for congress was sparked by MacArthur’s amendment to let insurers charge more for patients with pre-existing conditions and his central role in helping the repeal pass the House.  On Facebook he says, Help me fighrt against the TrumpCare author.

CD 4 

Chris Smith (R) (I) Although in earlier iterations of “Repeal & Replace” he voted in support, in the final version he voted against it. He said he opposed “Repeal & Replace” because it “wasn’t an improvement over the Affordable Care Act and in part because of deep cuts to Medicaid.” Josh Welle (D) seeks “equal and universal access to healthcare” and he wants to “restore the Affordable Care Act and move the country towards Medicare for All.” 

 CD 5 

Josh Gottheimer (D) (I) initially sought a bipartisan fix for ACA, and then voted against “Repeal & Replace.” He opposes repealing ACA. John McCann (R): Undaunted by the Republicans’ inability to completely repeal and replace the Affordable Care, says he wants to do exactly that and is in favor of a “market-based” approach.

CD 7

Leonard Lance (R) (I) Although in early iterations of “Replace & Repeal” he voted in favor of it, in the final bill he voted against it, saying it “needs fixing, not repealing and replacing.”  Tom Malinowski (D) supports ACA, Medicare for All, CHIP, and believes healthcare is a right. 

CD 11 Open seat

Mikie Sherrill (D) says “I believe deeply that every American should have access to quality and affordable healthcare. She opposed an “age tax” on Americans over 50 and ending pre-existing conditions.”  She also said, “I think it needs to be tweaked.” Jay Webber (R) does not mention healthcare on his website but elsewhere he has said, “Obamacare should be abolished.”

NJPP’s report: Newest Trump Sabotage of Obamacare Could Make Health Insurance Unaffordable for Many New Jerseyans

NJPP explains Trump’s most recent efforts to undermine the ACA:

  • Suspending $64 million in payments to insurers to defray the cost of covering consumers with high health costs. Without these payments, insurers may increase premiums to make up for the cost of insuring customers with pre-existing conditions.
  • Slashing funds for navigators who help New Jerseyans with signing up for insurance and outreach. With a 70% cut in federal funds, New Jersey should receive approximately $200,000 for outreach in 2018, down from $1.9 million in 2016 and $720,000 in 2017.
  • Urging a federal court to invalidate protections for pre-existing conditions arguing that insurers should be allowed to charge consumers based on their pre-existing conditions. NJ has joined other states in opposition to this suit. Should this case go to the Supreme Court, President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh further endangers the ACA’s future.

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