The New York Times

The Governor In South Orange

The New York Times — Friday, July 24, 2009

By Jasmine Marcus

After what turned out to be a particularly interesting day in New Jersey, Gov. Jon S. Corzine made an appearance in South Orange last night to discuss health care. Sticking close to the matter at hand, Mr. Corzine made no mention of the latest scandals gripping the state, nor to his reelection campaign against Chris Christie.

Almost 90 people, including the South Orange area's Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey and Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, gathered in a South Orange house to hear Mr. Corzine speak at the Health Care Leadership Forum, a fund raiser organized by the New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund.

Following a wine tasting, Mr. Corzine arrived and began his remarks by declaring loudly, "I believe in universal health care," to which the audience burst into applause. "We need it desperately."

He referred to President Barack Obama's health care plan, saying that now is the perfect opportunity to make a change.

"It's going to be an extraordinary challenge," he told the audience, "but don't give up!"

The governor added that he thinks the plan will pass 51-49 in the Senate.

However, he acknowledged, "There's one problem: that's called money."

Yet he said he believes the new system will ultimately save Americans money.

"I'll tell you what's going to continue the financial underpinning," he told the audience before it burst into another round of applause: "A continuation of what we have now. No one would create the system we have now. Let's get it fixed!"

The governor also made reference during a question and answer session to the financial importance of preventative care and of using rationing to ensure that more funding is set aside for common medical occurrences such as childbirth.

He ended by telling the audience that New Jersey must wrestle to maintain what Mr. Corzine called a better health care system than most other states have.

"New Jersey is already way ahead of the nation," he said. "We need to fight like crazy to make sure we don't get dragged down."

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