N.J. Democrats: Repealing ACA would cost the state dearly

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate are troubled that one of President Trump’s first actions was signing an executive order that seeks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says New Jersey would be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare and the accompanying expansion of Medicaid.

“It expanded health care for hundreds of thousands of people in this state and millions nationwide. And it’s not a game. We’re dealing with people’s lives right now, and it’s concerning.”

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says eliminating Medicaid expansion provided under the Act would be devastating to the state’s most vulnerable residents.

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He’s not sure just what’s going to happen, but one option is federal block grants for states to provide Medicaid services.

“We will have to get tighter and smarter but also crueler if it is that we have to cut enrollees from the program, because the state of New Jersey frankly can’t afford to pick up hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer costs to have to fund the program.”

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo says repealing the Affordable Care Act could force the state to spend a billion dollars in higher Medicaid expenses. He says that would jeopardize other budget priorities.

“Just take pension payment, school funding, property tax. With the uncertainty of what’s going to happen with Medicaid expansion, the impact on charity care, those other big three priorities of all of ours, right now puts all of them into a very uncertain place.”

Sweeney says he’s trying to be positive about the new administration, but believes what Trump has done so far is scary.

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