New Jersey Newsroom

Report: Health Care Reform Bill Would Benefit N.J.

New Jersey Newsroom — Thursday, October 8, 2009

BY TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Health care reform advocates released a new report Thursday by New Jersey Policy Perspective that shows the impact of the health care bill currently in the US House of Representatives on the state's public health and economy.

The report analyzes the major provisions in "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" and describes how the bill would benefit New Jersey residents including low and middle-income families, small businesses, children, adults, seniors, people with disabilities, and the uninsured.

It is the first analysis examining the impact of the bill, HR 3200, on New Jerseyans. New Jersey Policy Perspective has also broken down the information by county and Congressional District.

Some of the key findings are:

"HR 3200 addresses many of New Jersey's major health coverage problems,'' said. Almost all groups including working families, seniors, disabled persons, children, adults and small businesses in New Jersey would benefit either directly or indirectly by some provision in the bill," said Ray Castro, Policy Perspective's senior analysis. "It would also provide much needed help to the state government by increasing the federal government's share of funds for health services to low and moderate-income households. And it would do all this at no cost to most New Jersey taxpayers. All of this makes the legislation a win for New Jersey."

"Given the large number of people without insurance and the high cost of health coverage in New Jersey, health reform is a necessity not an option," said Eve Weissman, the health care campaign coordinator. "Without it, the state's public health and its economy are threatened."

"In the current economic downturn, with unemployment reaching record highs, a growing number of people simply cannot afford to keep their health care coverage," said the Rev. Bruce Davidson, director of the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry. "I recently conducted a funeral service for a 60-year-old small business owner, who gave up his health care insurance this year when his business began to suffer from the effects of the economy. His death could have been prevented if his coverage had been in place, but he failed to seek timely medical attention because he was afraid the cost would be prohibitive. A recent survey by the AARP indicates that as much as 25 percent of people over 60 are without health care coverage as a result of recent job loss."

The report also provides recommendations to attempt to ensure New Jerseyans benefit from the final bill by maintaining the following provisions in HR 3200:

The report also notes the consensus in Congress on important elements of reform regarding the private insurance marketplace — measures that include prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, terminating insurance if the policyholder becomes too sick and capping lifetime benefits.

For more information see the report: The Right Rx for NJ: National Health Care Reform.

Trenton-based New Jersey Policy Perspective is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that conducts on state issues.

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