Senator Booker and Senator Menendez Announce Opposition to Better Care Reconciliation Act

Vote on Better Care Reconciliation Act Delayed Until After July 4th Holiday

Both Senator Cory Booker and Senator Bob Menendez have expressed their opposition to the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act which the vote has been postponed until after the July 4th holiday.

The “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The broad outlines of the Senate bill show similarities to the House bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed in May.

According to New Jersey Policy Perspectives, the Senate Republican healthcare bill:

  • Would cause New Jersey’s uninsurance rate to skyrocket. (We will not have the final estimate until the Congressional Budget Office completes its analysis, but the phase out of the Medicaid expansion alone would cause the number of uninsured to increase by up to 400,000. See our prior report 24 Million Americans Would Lose Coverage Under House Republican Health Plan.
  • Effectively repeals the Medicaid expansion that assists 562,000 New Jerseyans. These New Jerseyans would lose coverage at a slower rate than under the House bill – but the bottom line is that they would all still likely lose their health coverage. The federal matching rate would be reduced starting in 2021 in the Senate bill, instead of 2020 in the House bill. The federal matching rate would be phased down over three years. However, many states may not have the funding to pay for the higher state matching rate which may force them to end the expansion for new applicants during the first year.
  • Continues the radical restructuring of Medicaid by permanently capping and reducing the funding needed to serve 1.6 million New Jersey seniors, people with disabilities and children. In fact, the Senate bill makes even deeper cuts to Medicaid.
  • Raises premiums and eliminates subsidies that help reduce costs for New Jersey consumers. There are up to 350,000 New Jerseyans who buy their own health insurance who could end up paying much more for their healthcare. This will become an even greater problem when over a half million New Jersey residents lose their Medicaid expansion coverage and must turn to the marketplace for insurance.
  • Allows states to drop basic services like maternity care, mental health and drug treatment. Insurers could in effect still deny insurance to people with pre-existing conditions by simply eliminating the benefits they need from their coverage. It is estimated that 24 percent of all non-elderly residents, or 1.2 million people, have a preexisting condition in New Jersey.
  • Allows insurers to charge older residents five times more than younger adults for their coverage. Over half of everyone in the New Jersey marketplace is age 35 or older.
  • Includes huge tax cuts for the wealthy. Millionaires in New Jersey would receive a tax cut averaging $50,000, which would only increase the enormous income and wealthy inequality in the state.

“The Senate Republican health care bill, which we saw for the first time yesterday, isn’t a health care bill at all.  It’s a massive tax cut bill for insurance company CEO’s and the richest, paid for by cutting health care for the middle class and the most vulnerable among us,” said Sen. Menendez.  “So, if the House Republican plan was ‘mean,’ this bill is downright nasty, causing real harm to the health and economic security of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans.”

Senator Booker said, “It is painfully clear that this bill — developed in secret, with no public input, accountability, or transparency — was never intended to give better health coverage to more people, it was deliberately crafted to protect and increase the wealth of the few. Under this version of Trumpcare, just like the last, millions of Americans will lose health coverage, health costs will go up, and the quality of coverage will go down — all to give the richest Americans a huge tax cut. 

“It is especially perverse that Senate Republicans ?are paying for their tax cuts with an unprecedented gutting of Medicaid, which provides coverage for America’s most vulnerable – children, seniors in nursing homes, low-income Americans, and those with disabilities.

“This bill is a shameful rejection of our most fundamental American values and it must be defeated.”

Join us and register for the 2017 Congressional Reception on Wednesday July 26 in Washington DC. This free event is an important opportunity to tell the New Jersey Congressional Delegation we will not stand for housing cuts. Housing and healthcare are the intersection of everything we do as humans and critical to our well being.