e-News 5/12/17

e-News 5/12/17

  • Another Telephone Town Hall Meeting
  • More Bad News on Obamacare
  • Meeting with New Jersey’s Job Creators
  • Nutley, Mendham, Wayne Students Win Annual Art Competition
  • Salute: High School Graduates Joining our Armed Forces!


Another Telephone Town Hall Meeting

I had nearly 6,800 people on the line Tuesday as I conducted another Telephone Town Hall meeting.  While constituents raised such issues as the future of Social Security, so-called Sanctuary Cities, housing, and tax reform, the future of Obamacare was the most common topic raised by residents in this live, unscripted Telephone Town Hall meeting.

I reminded the participants that Obamacare is failing to make health care affordable for New Jersey families facing skyrocketing premiums, soaring deductibles, and fewer choices.  And, Obamacare continues to wreak havoc in the job market.  The so-called Affordable Care Act has damaged small businesses by raising taxes, discouraging hiring and encouraging fewer working hours and, in effect, lowering wages of employees.

In addition, insurers continue to announce their intention to pull out of Obamacare state insurance markets, continuing a trend of leaving families with few or no options for coverage.  This is why we must act with urgency. If Obamacare remains the law of the land, things will only get worse—leaving thousands of Americans without options for affordable, quality health care coverage.

I took the opportunity to outline my views on the American Health Care Act - legislation that takes steps to increase flexibility for individuals purchasing health coverage while ensuring vital safety nets remain for those who need them most.

Specifically, this bill:

  • Maintains protections for pre-existing conditions. (I will expand on this point in a moment.)
  • Allows young people to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.
  • Maintains ban on life-time caps.
  • Maintains essential health benefits as the federal standard
  • Removes the Obamacare individual mandate, which imposed an IRS penalty on people who choose not to buy insurance.
  • Removes employer mandate, which forced companies with over 50 employees to provide coverage. As I mentioned, many companies reduced hiring and employee hours as a result.
  • Repeals the ACA’s taxes, like those on insurers, medical devices and over-the-counter medications, which have subsequently been passed onto consumers increasing the cost of health care.
  • Increases amount individuals can contribute to their Health Savings Accounts.

With that said, I fully support the notion that we must protect access to care for those with pre-existing conditions:

  • Under the American Health Care Act, insurance companies cannot deny anyone coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Further, your health status cannot affect your premiums.  If a state happens to be granted a waiver from the provisions of the American Health Care Act, they are required to have other protections in place for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Even if a state does obtain a waiver, as long as you’ve been continuously covered, you still cannot be charged more. And the bill provides added resources to help people in waiver states secure coverage if they have not been continuously covered.
  • The bottom line: there are many levels of protection for those with pre-existing conditions in the legislation.

The Congressional process is continuing with the Senate now developing its own version of this Obamacare rescue legislation. 

This was my fourth Telephone Town Hall meeting of the year.  I use these meetings, where I routinely have several thousand people on the line, to compliment my ongoing Listening Tour to visit with constituents in all corners of our Congressional District. 

We are already working on scheduling our next round of Telephone Town Hall meetings. All constituents are welcome.  If you’re interested in participating, please visit my website and register using the convenient button on the right-hand side of the opening page to sign up.  Or call one of my offices (973-984-0711202-225-5034) to be put on the call list. 

More Bad News on Obamacare

One of the foundations of the Affordable Care Act suffered a setback this week. Health care giant Aetna announced it will completely exit all Obamacare exchanges in 2018. 

Read the story, Aetna completely exits Obamacare exchanges, cites massive losses,” here.

Meeting with New Jersey’s Job Creators

It was great to meet with hundreds of members of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce this morning in Florham Park.  We talked about the major issues confronting the region’s employers and job creators – efforts to replace the failing Obamacare system, comprehensive tax reform and national security.   I fielded questions about healthcare, human services, infrastructure and President Trump, to name a few.

Nutley, Mendham, Wayne Students Win Annual Art Competition

We had a great turnout at the Morris Museum on Monday as we tapped the winners of the 2017 Congressional Arts Competition. 

  • Barbara Benda of Nutley High School was the First Place honoree with work entitled “Don’t Look”
  • Emma Jang of West Morris Mendham High School was awarded second place with work entitled “I Donut Understand Puns”
  • Emily Wang of Wayne Valley High School was awarded third place with work entitled “Black Rain”

Honorable mention was awarded to Michelle Tolochko of Boonton High School for her work “Self Portrait,” Jaclyn Larsen of Hanover Park High School for her work “Messi,” Ashley O’Brien of Montville Township High School for her work  “Aphrodite” and Christopher Cortez of the Passaic County Technical Institute for his work “Shades of Beauty.”

I am very proud of the 55 artists from 21 schools from across the 11thDistrict who entered the competition. It is very clear that schools in our district develop and nurture a tremendous amount of artistic talent.

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artists in each congressional district.  Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.  The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. 

Salute: Several hundred school graduates who have enlisted in the military were feted this week by “Our Community Salutes” at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  I was honored to join “Our Community Salutes” founder Kenneth Hartman in thanking these young men and women on behalf of a grateful nation and wishing them well! It was an emotional and well-done ceremony!

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