I believe deeply that every American should have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

Leadership in Congress wanted to take our country backwards, pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in favor of a bill that took away coverage and increases costs for almost everyone. Under their plan, an “age tax” on Americans over 50 would have allowed insurance companies to charge them premiums that are five times higher than what others pay for health coverage.

The plan also eliminated protections for the 300,000 people in our district with pre-existing conditions. When reviewing the repeal bill, the American Medical Association concluded that “Americans with pre-existing conditions will be stuck in second-class health care coverage – if they are able to obtain coverage at all.”

In all, Congress’ repeal plan would have resulted in more than 469,000 New Jerseyans losing their coverage, including 27,000 in our district.

We can do more to bring down costs and make sure all Americans have access to affordable healthcare coverage.

First, we need to stabilize the healthcare marketplace. Congress had more than seven years to come up with a plan to make sure cost-sharing reductions were funded. Instead of proposing solutions to fix the system, they are working to sabotage the healthcare marketplace to score political points.

Second, we need to make sure we protect the hard-won gains in our healthcare system. This includes protections for pre-existing conditions and the ten essential health benefits, as well as the ability of our children to stay on their parent’s insurance until they turn 26.

And finally, we need to roll up our sleeves and start fixing our healthcare system. Let’s allow Medicare to leverage its buying power to negotiate lower drug prices – it works for the VA and it will help bring down costs for our seniors. And instead of the age tax, let’s find a fiscally responsible way to allow certain individuals older than 55 the option of buying into Medicare.

It is time for Washington to stop playing politics with our healthcare.