ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 222
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED DECEMBER 15, 2016
Assemblyman VINCENT PRIETO
District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)
Assemblyman GARY S. SCHAER
District 36 (Bergen and Passaic)
Assemblywoman SHAVONDA E. SUMTER
District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)
Assemblyman HERB CONAWAY, JR.
District 7 (Burlington)
Assemblyman REED GUSCIORA
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Senator JOSEPH F. VITALE
District 19 (Middlesex)
Senator NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ
District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)
Assemblyman Eustace, Senators Gordon, Ruiz and Gill
Urges Congress and President not to repeal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
A Concurrent Resolution urging the Congress and President of the United States not to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Whereas, In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also commonly known as “Obamacare,” was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama; and
Whereas, The ACA established a comprehensive series of health insurance reforms designed to make universal, affordable health coverage available to all Americans, while at the same time controlling rising health care costs and ending certain common industry practices that limited access to health coverage; and
Whereas, Specifically, the ACA expanded access to health insurance coverage by creating transparent health insurance marketplaces, allowing children to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26, expanding Medicaid, and establishing a system of tax credits and penalties designed to both encourage consumers to purchase individual coverage and incentivize businesses to provide coverage to their employees; and
Whereas, Additionally, the ACA prohibits insurers from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, prohibits insurers from rescinding coverage, eliminates lifetime and annual limits on coverage, requires all marketplace plans to provide coverage for 10 essential health benefits, including preventative care, established a mechanism for consumers to appeal coverage determinations, and established a system of navigators to assist consumers in navigating the health insurance marketplace; and
Whereas, The ACA additionally provides incentives to expand the number of primary care providers and encourage them to serve in medically underserved areas, promotes alternative payment methodologies designed to improve the value of care, and works to link patients with community based resources and other services designed to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and inappropriate emergency department use; and
Whereas, In New Jersey, the ACA helped reduce the uninsured rate to 8.7 percent, representing a 34 percent decrease in the uninsured population from 1.16 million in 2013 to 771,000 in 2015; and
Whereas, In particular, approximately 480,000 new enrollees obtained health coverage in New Jersey through the Medicaid expansion alone, and approximately 24,000 additional health care jobs were added in efforts to expand the primary care network; and
Whereas, A number of national leaders have proposed repealing the ACA in the coming Congressional session. Most plans for repeal do not include any concrete or detailed proposals to replace the ACA or otherwise identify which aspects of the ACA, if any, would be preserved, modified, or replaced; and
Whereas, It has been estimated that repealing the Medicaid expansion alone would result in approximately 528,000 adults in New Jersey, or approximately 10 percent of the State’s adult population, losing coverage. This estimate includes both those who became newly eligible for Medicaid under the ACA expansion and those who were covered prior to the enactment of the ACA under waivers that have since expired; and
Whereas, Nearly two thirds of those at risk of losing Medicaid coverage following a repeal of the ACA are either active in the workforce or live in a working household, but have a household income that makes health insurance unaffordable without assistance; in many cases, access to health coverage is essential to keeping the working members of the household in the workforce; and
Whereas, It is further estimated that the Medicaid repeal alone could cause New Jersey to lose approximately $3 billion in federal funds in each year following repeal and an additional $4.1 billion in lost economic activity and jobs, particularly in the health care industry; and
Whereas, Federal funds made available under the ACA supplanted State funds being used to provide health care benefits to State residents; given the State’s current financial circumstances, it will be difficult to replace these federal funds if lost due to repeal of the ACA; and
Whereas, Repealing the ACA will likely reverse both the positive reductions in use of hospital emergency departments for primary care and the positive reductions in incidents of unnecessary hospitalization that were achieved through the use of expanded primary care and community resources; an uptick in inappropriate hospital use will likely undermine the financial stability of hospitals while driving up the overall cost of health care in the State; and
Whereas, Repealing the ACA without establishing mechanisms to preserve the significant improvements realized by the law, and without adequately providing for those who stand to lose their health coverage upon repeal, will have significant detrimental effects on individuals and their families, on the health care industry in general, and on the overall economic well-being of both New Jersey and the nation as a whole; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey (the Senate concurring):
1. The Congress and President of the United States are respectfully urged not to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and to ensure that any revisions or modifications to the law adequately maintain continuing health coverage for those individuals who would otherwise lose their health benefits upon repeal and preserve the significant gains that have been realized through the law in the years following its enactment.
2. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate to the President, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each member of Congress elected from New Jersey.
This resolution respectfully urges the Congress and President of the United States not to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is also known as “Obamacare,” and to ensure that any revisions or modifications to the law adequately provide continuing health coverage for those individuals who stand to lose their benefits upon repeal and preserve the improvements realized through the law in the years following its enactment.
Enacted in 2010, the ACA made significant progress in reducing the number of people without health insurance, implemented certain reforms to the insurance industry, established programs to expand the availability of primary care, reduced unnecessary hospitalizations and inappropriate use of hospital emergency departments, and established programs and incentives to improve overall quality and efficiency throughout the health care industry.
A number of national figures have proposed repealing the ACA, and there are few, if any, proposals that set forth in specific detail how the ACA would be modified or replaced following repeal. Is it estimated that a complete repeal of the ACA will have a significant detrimental impact on the citizens of New Jersey, including lost health coverage for over half a million residents, billions of dollars in lost federal funding, lost jobs and reduced economic activity, and increased strains on hospital resources. This is only a partial list of the likely social and economic implications of a full repeal of the ACA.
It is incumbent on national leaders to undertake any efforts to modify or replace the ACA in a rational, measured, thoughtful way that adequately addresses any flaws or imperfections in the current law while protecting and preserving the most beneficial parts of the law, including making affordable, comprehensive health coverage universally available, improving quality, value, and outcomes in the provision of health care, eliminating insurance industry practices that limited the availability of quality coverage, expanding access to primary care, and restricting the steady rise in health care costs.