In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed to provide access to affordable and quality health care to Americans. While not perfect, the ACA provides millions of Americans with access to health care and prohibits those with pre-existing coverage from being denied care. It also provides consumers with essential health benefits that must be covered by insurance companies, including critical services like mental health and maternity care. Unfortunately, since taking control of Congress, the Republicans have attacked the ACA and have been determined to strip health protections provided under the ACA.
For example, the Trump Administration denied funding for the cost sharing reductions to health insurers provided under the ACA that has allowed insurers to keep premiums down. Without these payments, many Americans will see their premiums rise. Republicans also repealed the provision of the ACA that provided for the responsibility of individuals to obtain health insurance, without this mandate, many individuals, mostly younger and healthier, will forgo insurance which in turn could drive up costs. The GOP has also made it easier for health insurers to offer very narrow insurance plans that do not cover essential health benefits.
In addition to rolling back protections under the ACA, since taking control of Congress and the White House, Republicans have proposed policies that attack women’s health, as well as Medicaid. For example, the Administration has allowed for employers to opt out of offering coverage that includes birth control and has continuously proposed to eliminate funding for critical family planning centers like Planned Parenthood. In every budget proposal, Republicans have planned to turn Medicaid into a block grant program and opened the door for states to put extreme restrictions on Medicaid beneficiaries, including work requirements. Both proposals mean less coverage for the most vulnerable. They have also used critical federal health programs, like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers, as political bargaining chips in budget discussions.
I vow to continue to fight against Republican efforts to repeal the ACA and restructure Medicaid. I also pledge to continue being an advocate for women’s health and programs that support our most vulnerable populations such as Community Health Services. It is important that these critical programs and continued lifesaving medical research receive the funding they need to ensure the health and wellbeing of communities like the 8th District. I am proud to have repeatedly supported robust funding for programs such as research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Alzheimer’s research, nursing workforce development, Tourette syndrome research, and HIV/AIDS programs.
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This week, the 116th Congress enters its second session and we will continue to build on the work we did in the first session. Over the last year, I have introduced and cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation, sent letters to government agencies and congressional committees, and attended hearings and conducted oversight through my work as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Budget Committee.
This week in Washington, the House passed vital legislation on fiscal year (FY)2020 appropriations, the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, and United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Additionally, two articles of impeachment reached the floor for consideration. I met with delegations from Chile and Colombia, as well as led two bipartisan efforts to shape our foreign policy with Nicaragua and Taiwan.
(Washington, D.C.) - Earlier this week, the House passed 2 funding packages that averted another painful holiday shutdown. While the packages were not perfect, they funded vital programs that will help Americans across the country and include landmark funding for essential initiatives.
(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 230 to 192. The legislation now awaits further action in the Senate.
Last week in Washington, the House considered legislation on workplace violence and continued the official impeachment inquiry. I spoke about the importance of industrial pipeline safety for our communities and questioned experts on the Open Skies Treaty.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Sires celebrated the announcement that the New Jersey Department of Health would receive $7,433,765 in federal funding from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Sires recognized Newark Community Health Centers on their receipt of two grants worth $167,000 and $242,952 from the Department of Health and Human Services. These awards support Newark Community Health Centers in their dedication to providing comprehensive and affordable health care to individuals within the community and enables them to further expand their services.
(Washington, D.C.) –Congressman Sires recognized North Hudson Community Action Corporation, which served nearly 72,000 patients in 2018, on their receipt of two grants worth $167,000 and $75,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services. These awards will allow North Hudson Community Action Corporation to increase access to the primary, behavioral, and preventive care services they offer and recognizes their achievement in quality of care.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Albio Sires released the following statement in response to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals beginning oral arguments today in the case Texas v. United States:
Last week in Washington, the House considered remedies to veteran’s services, consumer protection, and retirement savings. I met with community groups focused on youth job training, postal services, and disaster relief in Puerto Rico. I also attended a post office dedication in Belleville and executed my Budget and Foreign Affairs Committee duties.