Mar. 13, 2017: Statement of Betsy Ryan, New Jersey Hospital Association President and CEO, on the Congressional Budget Office’s Analysis of the American Health Care Act

Fourteen million Americans – more than half of those covered under the Affordable Care Act – would lose health insurance coverage next year if the American Health Care Act should become law. That is a tremendous human cost.

This information only reaffirms our position expressed to members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation last week that the New Jersey Hospital Association cannot support this bill. The price is simply too high for the healthcare providers we represent and the people they care for.

The impact of the law, as revealed today by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would return our country to the dark days where the nation’s uninsured rate reached double digits and millions of families didn’t have access to primary and preventive care. That means a less healthy population and higher healthcare costs. It also means that healthcare providers will once again carry the burden of providing safety-net care. The impact will be borne by all healthcare consumers and taxpayers who will experience cost shifts to pay for that care.

NJHA is still reviewing the details of the CBO’s analysis, but we are especially concerned to see that the measure would reduce federal funding to the Medicaid program by $880 billion, including eliminating the Medicaid expansion and shifting to per-capita caps. That translates into a significant reduction for our state and far-reaching impacts for Medicaid beneficiaries including senior citizens, the disabled, families below the poverty level and the working poor. We can expect to see a dramatic spike in charity care services and a flood of uninsured patients in our emergency rooms.