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 attended a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee vote on an important water infrastructure bill and submitted public comments opposing the Administration’s proposal to rewrite asylum rules. I also signed onto letters opposing the Administration’s recent attempted rule on international students, urging the Administration to extend the current public health emergency, pushing for protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence, and encouraging the Administration to keep protections in place for Medicaid beneficiaries.
Last week, I was in Jersey City to announce more CARES Act funding to assist small businesses in the area. A long-time Jersey City resident returned to the United States after being wrongly imprisoned in Egypt. I also attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing focused on the Administration’s response to reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops.
This week, I traveled back to Washington D.C. to vote for important legislation to expand access and affordability to healthcare, provide housing and rental relief to homeowners and renters, and upgrade our country’s infrastructure. I also chaired a Western Hemisphere hearing on the Administration’s response to COVID-19 in Latin America, and attended a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Hong Kong.
(Washington D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act:
(Washington D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) announced that Family and Children's Services, Inc. of Elizabeth, New Jersey, has been awarded a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services worth $333,333.
(Washington D.C.) – As briefs were filed in the Supreme Court case to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, Congressman Sires slammed the Trump Administration’s irresponsible attempt to eliminate health care for millions of Americans.
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.