New Jerseyans are more concerned than ever about health care now that the GOP has taken steps to attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  The ACA benefits everyone in New Jersey.  First, think of those who didn’t have care who now do.  288,000 residents of New Jersey get care through the exchanges.  Additionally, more than 500,000 mostly low-wage earners are covered through Medicaid expansion.

Those who already have medical insurance benefit, too.  The ACA eliminates discrimination for pre-existing conditions;  allows adult children up to age 26 to stay on a parents policy;  and bans life time caps on insurance payouts, important for anyone facing a serious medical illness or accident.  Additionally the amount of charity care that hospitals have had to provide has dramatically gone down, allowing for decrease of state and federal reimbursements of $373 million to these hospitals since 2014. 

The plan released by the GOP, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) did not even make it to a vote, as representatives on both sides of the aisle recognized how problematic the bill was.  But that does not mean that Republicans in Washington have completely abandoned their efforts to repeal an replace the ACA.  Moving forward, the New Jersey Legislature will be the first firewall against any health care legislation coming out of Washington and Lisa, Richard and Tom will fight for affordable, universal health care for all our residents.

Of concern in this political climate is access to family planning at clinics like Planned Parenthood.  These clinics offer women wellness exams, cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and access to birth control.  In 2010, Governor Christie cut funding to family planning service providers like Planned Parenthood by $7.45 million, causing 6 centers to close, and others to decrease their hours of operation.  The Republicans in Washington have consistently threatened to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  Centers like Planned Parenthood rely on federal funding for half of their budget

As pro-choice candidates, Lisa, Tom and Richard support all the services that Planned Parenthood offers, but wish to point out that federal and state funding go only to the 97% of non-abortion related care that Planned Parenthood provides (see graph below.)  This is essential care for low-wage earners and the underserved population.

Lisa, Richard and Tom will vote in support of a budget which restores funding for family planning clinics.

(Source: Planned Parenthood 2013-14 annual report)