Area residents who may ever get pregnant, sick, hurt, old, or unemployed should head to Willingboro on May 10 and ask Rep. Tom MacArthur (R., N.J.) what he’s going to do about it.
MacArthur put the House’s cruel American Health Care Act back on track last week by making a deal with the hard-right Freedom Caucus. Without their votes, the plan rightly failed in March. Now it has a greater chance of life than many Americans will if it passes.
President Trump’s administration is predicting a vote as early as this week but that could be tricky. Moderate Republicans have withheld support because they were getting a lot of heat at home from constituents who were worried whether they could afford health insurance under a plan that slashed subsidies and raised costs for the old and the sick.
MacArthur is taking even more heat because he ignored the wishes of fellow members of the moderate GOP caucus called the Tuesday Group who did not want to negotiate with the Freedom Caucus. MacArthur’s big deal took them and constituents by surprise. For months, MacArthur played coy. He dodged questions about the Republicans’ health-care plan and even appeared to want a thoughtful and measured overhaul of the system, which it could surely use.
But this plan is neither. It puts millions of Americans at physical and financial risk by slashing expanded Medicaid coverage as well as subsidies to working-class and middle-class people. It returns the country to the days when some families had to choose between caring for a loved one or losing a house. In MacArthur’s district, which covers Burlington and Ocean counties, cutting just the Medicaid expansion could cost 37,000 people their health insurance, according to a New Jersey Policy Perspective analysis. Nationally, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in March that the bill would increase the number of uninsured people by 24 million by 2026.
Additionally, the plan would let states get out of requiring insurance companies to cover emergency care, mental-health services, substance abuse treatment, and maternity care. They could charge people with preexisting conditions like asthma more, making insurance out of reach for them.
Congress would foolishly shove the problem of affordable health care onto states, which would make health care inconsistent throughout the country. Wealthy states like New Jersey probably would try to maintain a decent health-care standard but taxpayers would have to pick up increased costs, adding more stress to an already poorly balanced budget. Other states like Pennsylvania could see health-care standards drop to dangerous levels because its legislature is unlikely to spend the extra money to protect residents’ health and safety.
MacArthur’s dumb deal has put lives in jeopardy. He’s holding a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 10 at the John. F. Kennedy Center, 429 John F. Kennedy Way, Willingboro. Constituents should tell him what their lives will be like without affordable and adequate health care.
Take action: Go to the town hall. Call MacArthur at 856-267-5182 or 732-569-6495. Send a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.