On Wednesday night, a couple of dozen people gathered outside Rep. Frank LoBiondo’s office in Mays Landing. They were there to protest the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without any replacement plan.
“Prior to the Affordable Care Act, we couldn’t afford insurance,” Jenna Alcantara, a small-business owner from Mullica Township told one of the staff at LoBiondo’s office. “To have this be where it is, is very scary to somebody like me.” (You can see an interview with Alcantara in the video below).
Alcantara, like others, bought her health insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The cost of insurance bought through the marketplace varies, but on average in New Jersey it is about $727 a month for a “silver” plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
There is no up-to-the-minute data on how many residents in LoBiondo’s 2nd Congressional District would be directly affected by repeal of the ACA, but local health officials believe the numbers of uninsured have dropped since the marketplace for insurance opened and medicaid was expanded. “With the advent of the federal Affordable Care Act, the percentage of uninsured adults has decreased, with nine per cent of Atlantic County residents indicating they have no health insurance,” wrote Atlantic County officials in a report from 2014. State-wide last year, some 273,000 people bought insurance through the ACA marketplace and 500,000 were covered by the Medicaid expansion.
There is up-to-date data by county on how many children receive coverage under New Jersey Family Care – and that number has risen by almost one third since the Affordable Care Act passed. (You can see that data here).
We at Route 40 would be directly affected by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, since we are also small business owners who bought our insurance through the ACA marketplace and our two children are covered by the expansion of NJ Family Care.
Here is a video from the vigil: