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 number of hearings and markups reviewing bipartisan legislation and met with various groups to discuss issues important to residents of the 8th District.
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman Sires released the following statement on Senate passage of H.J. Res. 43 to reduce access to Title X (family planning) services:
This week in Washington, I opposed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, called for an independent investigation into Russian interference, attended a roundtable, held meetings, and introduced legislation.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires issued the following statement after House Republicans failure to bring their Obamacare repeal bill to a vote:
“The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the bill proposed by President Trump and House Republicans. Back in January, then President-elect Trump stated that his goal was to have ‘insurance for everybody.’ Rather than making sensible changes to our current health system, President Trump attempted to ram through a proposal that would work towards the opposite of his goal.
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman Sires released the following statement on the analysis of the Republican healthcare bill issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):
After returning to Washington from an official trip to Honduras and Guatemala, I participated in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, weighed in on recent executive actions and legislation, testified before a House Appropriations Subcommittee, and held meetings.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires issued the following statement regarding House Republicans’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act:
As you will see, it was a busy week in Washington. I commented on the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, cosponsored and introduced legislation, attended a markup and a hearing, and held meetings.