Nearly 23,000 New Jersey adults will be denied health care coverage under the proposed decrease in income eligibility requirements for Medicaid and NJ Family Care programs.
The American Heart Association urges that all Americans have meaningful, affordable health care coverage. However, the proposed cut denotes that adults in a family of three making as little as $103 a week would earn too much to qualify for these assistance programs. Families hovering above poverty level would be forced to seek costly emergency room care for minor illnesses and injuries, resulting in a rise in Charity Care cases. With charity care reimbursements significantly lower than treatment costs, hospitals may continue to shift costs to the insured and self-pay population they serve to close the financial gap.
Cardiovascular diseases-our nation’s leading cause of death-present special challenges to the uninsured population. According to the American Heart Association, individuals who lack health care coverage and suffer from cardiovascular diseases or strokes often have poorer outcomes than those with health insurance. Medicaid and Family Care allow covered individuals to seek preventative health services for treatment of illnesses and diseases like high blood pressure and high cholesterol before they become medical emergencies. If left untreated, they often result in more serious and expensive complications, such as heart attack and stroke.
The proposed cuts will have a significant negative impact, not only on the thousands of individuals who may become eligible for Medicaid and Family Care under the current income limits, but on ail New Jerseyans who seek care from health providers in New Jersey. It is important to keep the current income limits on these programs that help ensure the wellbeing of thousands of New Jerseyans.
Marcus L. Williams, MD, FACC
Board Member, American Heart Association
NJ Regional Board of Directors President
Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.
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