AP NEWS

3 New Jersey GOP congressmen oppose health overhaul

March 23, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Three Republican New Jersey congressmen plan to oppose their party’s signature health care legislation.

U.S. Reps. Leonard Lance and Chris Smith on Wednesday joined with Rep. Frank LoBiondo to make up a group of more than 25 Republicans opposing the bill that is expected to get a crucial vote Thursday in the U.S. House.

Lance, whose northern New Jersey district borers the Delaware River, told reporters he’s “a no.” Both LoBiondo, whose district includes Atlantic City, and Smith, who represents towns at the shore and central part of the state, say the plan is not as good as the current law.

“This bill does not meet the standards of what was promised,” LoBiondo said in a statement. “It is not as good as or better than what we currently have. Accordingly, I will vote no on this health care plan.”

Smith pointed to deep cuts to Medicaid and the effect that would have on disabled people, families and the working poor.

The Republican legislation, backed by President Donald Trump, would halt former President Barack Obama’s tax penalties against people who don’t buy coverage and cut the federal-state Medicaid program for low earners, which the statute expanded.

It would provide tax credits to help people pay medical bills, though generally skimpier than the aid provided by Obama’s signature health care law. It also would allow insurers to charge older Americans more and repeal tax boosts the law imposed on high-income people and health industry companies.

In a count by The Associated Press, at least 25 Republicans said they opposed the bill, a number subject to constant change amid private lobbying by the White House and GOP leaders. That included moderates daunted by projections of 24 million Americans losing coverage in a decade and higher out-of-pocket costs for many low-income and older people, as predicted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Many conservatives also remained dug in against the measure, insisting it must repeal the law’s requirements that insurers pay for specified services like maternity care and cover all comers, including the sickest.

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