In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed to provide Americans with access to affordable and quality health care. While not perfect, the ACA provides millions of Americans with health care coverage that they may not otherwise have access to. It also prohibits denial of care for individuals with pre-existing conditions, an estimated 54 million people. Additionally, the ACA outlines essential health benefits that must be covered by insurance companies, including critical services like mental health and maternity care.
Attacks on American Health Care
Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration continue to undermine the ACA and have made a concerted effort to strip the health protections this legislation affords patients. These efforts to undermine the ACA have included expanding the sale of short-term junk plans, limiting consumer enrollment assistance, weakening federal standards, and asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to invalidate the entirety of the ACA. Furthermore, protections and access to health care for women and LGBTQ+ individuals continue to be limited. You may find more specific information about my efforts to protect access to women’s health care here.
I recognize that the ACA is instrumental in improving access, quality, and affordability for millions, improving public health outcomes and quality of life. My Democratic colleagues and I vow to fight for protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and address the rising cost of health care. Some of the bills I have cosponsored this Congress to do just this are:
- H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, as passed by the House of Representatives, promotes generic competition, restores funding for ACA enrollment and outreach activities, rescinds the rule promoting junk insurance plans, and strengthens protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
- H.R. 1884, the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act, would lower health insurance premiums by expanding affordability assistance, strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and stop insurance companies from selling junk health insurance plans.
- H.Res.271, as passed in the House, urges the Department of Justice to cease its efforts against the ACA and reverse its position in Texas v. United States.
The opioid epidemic is a national crisis and a public health emergency that has taken thousands of lives. In fact, it is estimated that over 130 people die each day in the United States from an opioid overdose. Ensuring state and local governments have access to adequate resources is critical to reducing the number of deaths from opioids and providing individuals with the treatment and services they need. I have cosponsored H.R. 2569, the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 2019, to help provide this much needed investment to combat the opioid epidemic. This bill would provide more than $100 billion over ten years to fight the opioid crisis.
Community Health Centers
Community Health Centers (CHCs) play a critical role in providing comprehensive, quality, affordable care to low-income populations in our community. In New Jersey, CHCs served 569,965 patients across 24 health centers at 137 sites. A majority of these patients are uninsured, publicly-insured, or low income. CHCs play a vital role in the health of our communities, which is why I continue to be an advocate on Capitol Hill for CHCs. In addition to supporting annual appropriations requests, I have cosponsored bills which will provide much-needed funding to CHCs, including:
- H.R. 2328, the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act of 2019, would reauthorize and extend funding for community health centers and the National Health Service Corps.
- H.R. 1943, the Community Health Center and Primary Care Workforce Expansion Act of 2019, would fund Federally Qualified Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps.
More on Health Care
This week, I worked on policies addressing immigration, Title IX, the National Guard, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. I continue to work with my colleagues as the effects of this unprecedented global pandemic emerge.
We have raised our community’s 2020 Census self-response rate to 48.9%. But, we are still behind New Jersey at 61% and the country at 59%. Federal funding is allocated based on this data and times of crisis have revealed just how important this data is in our government’s emergency response.
This week, the House of Representatives considered a fourth stimulus package, H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act. I pushed for the inclusion of critical policies in this legislation as well as future packages considered by Congress.
Last week, our community’s 2020 Census self-response rate rose 3 points to 48.1% of the 8th District. This is encouraging, but we still have plenty of work to do to catch up with New Jersey at 59.4% and the country at 57.7%. Millions of dollars in federal funding depend on each of our timely responses.
This week, I continued to work on the comprehensive elements of our government’s coronavirus response. The following is an overview of policies my colleagues and I support as Congress works on the next coronavirus legislative package.
Additionally, the 8th District remains behind the state and national self-response rates for the 2020 Census. As of this week, our community is only at 45% completion, trailing New Jersey at 56.3% and the country at 54.6%. To receive the millions of dollars in annual funding our community deserves, we all must do our part and be counted.
(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) announced multiple community health centers (CHCs) that are either located in the 8th District or serve 8th District residents, would receive federal funding to support expanded COVID-19 testing capabilities.
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) announced that Northwest Essex Community Healthcare Network, serving Belleville, NJ, has received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) worth $3,999,907.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) voted in favor of an interim stimulus package, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The bill funds and improves the Paycheck Protection Program, setting aside $60 billion, of the $310 billion appropriated for the program, for small business in underserved areas including many minority-owned ones. It also provides $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and $10 billion for the EIDL Grant Program.
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) announced additional community health centers serving the 8th District of New Jersey also received critical CARES Act funding to combat the coronavirus from the CARES Act.
(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) announced that HHS has awarded two Community Health Centers (CHCs) that serve North Jersey residents with much needed funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Newark Community Health Centers, Inc. was awarded $1,608,965 and North Hudson Community Action Corporation received $2,547,890. This funding was provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.
(Washington D.C.) – On Monday, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) joined a bipartisan, bicameral majority of the New Jersey congressional delegation in urging the Department of Health and Human Services to fulfill New Jersey’s request for medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile.
(Washington, D.C.)- Early this morning, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) voted to pass H.R. 6201 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which passed by a vote of 363 to 40 and now awaits action by the Senate.