Menendez Hears from New Jerseyans Whose Health is Threatened by Republican ACA Repeal Plan

Menendez Hears from New Jerseyans Whose Health is Threatened by Republican ACA Repeal Plan

ACA repeal will cause thousands of NJ residents to lose access to affordable healthcare, face higher premiums, less coverage

BURLINGTON CITY, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today met with several New Jersey constituents who reached out to his office to voice their concerns over losing their healthcare coverage under the Republican plan to repeal and erase the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Earlier this week, a report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed the ACA repeal will drive up the cost, drive down the quality, and cause 24 million Americans to lose their health insurance.

“The Republican plan to repeal and erase the Affordable Care Act is cruel, misguided and inflicts pain across the board,” said Sen. Menendez.  “When you take $880 billion out of state health care systems, everyone feels the pain. When you add 24 million people to the ranks of the uninsured, everyone feels the pain.  When you send more people to emergency rooms, saddle consumers with higher out-of-pocket costs, and end protections against insurance company abuses for patients – everyone feels the pain.”

“And for what? To cut taxes by $600 billion for health insurance executives and the Donald Trumps in our society? I will fight with everything I have to defeat it,” he added.

The senator visited the Southern Jersey Family Medical Center (SJFMC), a federally qualified health center in Burlington City, where he met with several constituents who have written him with their fears over the Republican plan:

  • Barbara Perkins of Basking Ridge is a divorced, single mom with two children she put through college.  Now, at 60 years-old, she is unemployed and picking up odd jobs. She’s five years away from Medicare and told the senator she is worried she won’t be able to afford coverage under the Republican proposed age-based tax credits.
  • Samantha Williams of Burlington Twp. told the senator she was laid off four years ago when her then four-year-old son desperately needed coverage due to his severe asthma.  Samantha was able to get her son covered through Medicaid and it has saved his life.
  • Paul Russell Neyenesch is from Montclair and is living with cancer, HIV, epilepsy, and bipolar disorder.  The 52-year-old told Sen. Menendez that the ACA literally keeps him alive.  When Paul lost his full-time job and became a freelancer, he also lost his insurance.  For a couple years, Paul was barely making it – both financially and medically.  Finally, when the ACA passed, Paul was relieved that he’d be able to gain coverage through the Medicaid Expansion.  He’s fearful that security could be gone under the Republican plan.
  • Erik Miner lives in Lawrenceville.  In July 2015, Erik was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Luckily, he was insured through the ACA.  Without his ACA subsidies his insurance costs would have been unaffordable and his family would have gone bankrupt to pay for the insurance coverage, without which, he would not be alive today.
  • Paul Nolting lives in Princeton, but his older brother is blind, wheelchair-bound and currently lives in a nursing home in North Jersey. He requires professional nursing care to help him with all of his daily activities and, without Medicaid, Paul could not afford the care his brother needs.  He is very concerned that care would be gone under the Republican repeal plan. 
  • Diana and Rolio Torres of Burlington City are both diabetic and said they would be unable to afford insulin without the Medicaid coverage they have because of the ACA.


Sen. Menendez also tweeted various videos from his meetings, which can be viewed here.

SJFMC President and CEO Linda Flake outlined to the senator the devastating impact the Republican replacement plan would have on families they are now able to serve because of the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  “The number of uninsured patients receiving care at SJFMC was reduced by 50% under the ACA.  With the replacement plan, that expansion will end, and the 10,000 uninsured SJFMC patients who received coverage through the Affordable Care Act will lose their coverage and be left out in the cold! If passed, this plan will also have a disastrous effect upon our bottom line and will unfortunately result in service reduction. The new bill goes against what we stand for, our commitment to provide high-quality care to the underserved and uninsured populations in our region.”

“The Affordable Care Act has brought health insurance to 800,000 New Jersey residents,” said Betsy Ryan, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association, which represents more than 100 hospitals throughout the state.  “The cost of losing that coverage would be very high: for the uninsured who would become sicker because they don't have access to primary and preventive care; for the hospitals that stand to see their charity care burden skyrocket to more than $1 billion once again; for other patients, who face longer waits in the ER; and for all healthcare consumers, who would see those high costs of ER care shifted to their premiums.”

“The Mental Health Association in New Jersey wants to remind our citizens and legislators that mental health is not a partisan issue nor should we make it one,” said Barbara Johnston, MHANJ’s director of advocacy and policy.  “It is about getting treatment and services to persons in need."