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
While in Washington this week, I participated in a Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials hearing on Positive Train Control and a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing on the Colombian negotiations with the FARC.
(Washington, D.C) - Congressman Sires released the following statement regarding today's Supreme Court decision on King v. Burwell:
"I am relieved that the Supreme Court ruled today 6-3 to uphold subsidies for 6.4 million Americans to ensure that they continue to receive affordable health insurance. Prior to the decision, 34 states, including New Jersey, were at risk of losing access to premium tax credits when purchasing health coverage on the federal marketplace.
During my time in Washington this week, I attended several Foreign Affairs Committee hearings, participated in a roundtable with business leaders from Latin America, and met with several constituent groups.
This week in Washington, I had an interview with students from my alma mater, received input from several constituent groups, and voted on transportation funding.
(Washington, D.C.) - Last week, Congressman Albio Sires introduced H.R. 2241, the Global Health Innovation Act of 2015, to encourage the development of health products that are affordable, culturally appropriate, and easy to use in low-resource health systems. This bill will require the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit a report on the development and use of global health innovations at the Agency.
This week in Washington, I participated in a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing, attended a Joint Session of Congress, met with a foreign ambassador, discussed important topics with several constituent groups, and voted on important pieces of legislation.
(Washington, D.C.) - Yesterday, Congressman Sires voted against the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Republican Budget Resolution (H.Con.Res. 27) submitted by Representative Tom Price (R-GA) because of its misplaced priorities. The Republican budget ends the Medicare guarantee, repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and guts investments in education and infrastructure.
This week in Washington, I participated in various Committee hearings, discussed important topics with several constituent groups, and met with foreign officials.
Over the past two weeks in Washington, I reintroduced important legislation, participated in several Subcommittee hearings, met with various constituent organizations, and voted on legislation in the House.