Less than 24 hours after his federal corruption case ended in a mistrial, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez joined North Hudson election officials to push for residents to enroll in the Affordable Care Act in 2018.
Menendez, a Democrat, said that Republican President Donald Trump was purposely trying to “sabotage” the health insurance marketplace to pave the way for a new healthcare plan.
“President Trump and his administration are actively working to sabotage the health insurance marketplace. They’re actively betting that if they can keep open enrollment a secret, if the force insurers to raise their premiums, if they inject uncertainty into the marketplace, more and more Americans will go uninsured,” Menendez said.
“President Trump is rooting for higher uninsured rates, high premiums, higher deductibles in order to say that the Affordable Care Act fails. It is the most cynical approach to government that I have ever heard of.”
Along those same lines, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) noted that he voted against a Republican effort to repeal the ACA 65 times and keeping enrollment high for 2018 was critical to ensure the program sticks around.
State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco also spoke about the importance of keeping healthcare moving forward.
“It was always an issue, every time the state budget came up: how do we pay for those people who are not covered as they go to our hospitals?,” began Sacco.
“And these things were being resolved with the Affordable Care Act and to see it lose again is to move us back to the past when we have to fight for the care at the hospitals, the clinics that we have, the lack of service that we’ll be offering, these are things Bob Menendez has stood for and let grow today.”
West New York Mayor Felix Roque, a pain management specialist by trade, thanked Menendez for being a champion on this issue.
Additionally, outgoing Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) followed suit and commended the senior Senator for his efforts.
“This is the true public servant of the State of New Jersey: that he has been criss-crossing back and forth to make sure that, whether there’s been an assault on the Affordable Care Act, that would hurt many, many people in the State of New Jersey, and now a so-called tax cut that will hurt the middle class here – you have a true champion in Bob Menendez.”
Prieto and Sires have both previously slammed Republicans for trying to repeal the ACA, also commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Attacking Trump could be seen as a dicey move for Menendez, given that it is possible he could be retried in 2018, but he told reporters after the event he didn’t see that happening.
“I think it sends a powerful message to the government if, after years of preparation of this case, if after years of prosecuting, if after hundreds of agents, millions of taxpayer dollars, the result is that ten of the twelve jurors simply said that they did not believe any of the charges,” Menendez stated.
Other officials who joined the presser to stand alongside Menendez included Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32), Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, North Bergen Freeholder Anthony Vainieri (D-8), as well as West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, Gabriel Rodriguez and Sue Colacurcio.