Medicaid matters. Many people know about its proven record of improving the health of low-income children and families – but many don’t know that two-thirds of Medicaid’s funding is devoted to supporting people with disabilities and to seniors. Medicaid is part of the safety net that nearly every American relies on.
Ever since Medicaid was created in 1965, the federal government has paid much of the program’s cost. In exchange, it has required states to follow guidelines on who should be eligible for the program and which benefits should be covered.
The House-passed Ryan budget, which I’ve discussed before, would tear up this agreement. It would essentially write states a check and, for the first time, allow them to set their own rules for how the money should be used. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, this could lead up to 27 million Americans to lose access to health coverage.
A better approach is outlined in the health reform law, which enables states to cover more people through Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid would help millions of low-income Americans, including adults without children, gain access to health insurance for the first time. It also would give more Americans access to doctors and preventive care, which would help improve health outcomes and lower costs.
The good news is that expanding Medicaid makes financial sense for New Jersey. In fact, we would receive an estimated $22 billion in new federal Medicaid funds over eight years. Earlier this month I sent Governor Christie a letter urging him to expand Medicaid in New Jersey. I hope that Governor Christie does what is right and puts the people of New Jersey above politics.
Honoring Constitution Day
Every year on September 17, we celebrate Constitution Day, honoring the 39 delegates from 12 state delegations who gave this nation our greatest gift.
I always carry a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution. For many years, I and other members of Congress have shared copies of these “pocket Constitutions” with our constituents so they too can study our nation’s founding document.
A few months ago, it appeared that this long tradition was about to reach an end: the Congressional supply of pocket Constitutions had been depleted, and there were no plans to print further copies. I offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill to reinstitute the printing of pocket Constitutions, and I am pleased to report that new pocket Constitutions are now ready for distribution.
If you would like to receive a free, pocket-sized Constitution, please contact me by clicking here.
Protecting Our Hallowed Grounds
Earlier this year, I let you know that the House Committee on Natural Resources had passed the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act, which I wrote and which would help to preserve historic battlefields that are in danger of being lost forever. This month, the full U.S. House of Representatives approved our bill, sending it to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.
As we continue to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War – last Monday was, in fact, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history – the bill’s passage is an important step toward protecting our nation’s heritage for future generations.