Insider NJ

New Jersey Citizen Action Calls For Horizon Bill Conditional Veto To Protect Health Funds

Insider NJ — December 17, 2020

"Today the Horizon conversion bill passed in both legislative bodies. While some productive amendments were incorporated on mergers, acquisitions, and for-profit subsidiaries, they do not address all of the major issues that need to be resolved to protect public health funds. We remain concerned that the charitable mission of the reorganized Horizon is not specified, that the Attorney General as the overseer of charitable trusts has been left out of this process, and that funds from reorganization to the state are not dedicated to health care. Despite Horizon's overtures about "modernization", for-profit expansion of health care organizations has not been shown to increase affordability, so it is imperative we codify protections for these much-needed public health funds.

Therefore, we are asking the Governor to support these concerns with a conditional veto that calls on the Legislature to fully protect Horizon charitable assets, to consult the Attorney General and provide him the information and authority to invoke a charitable trust settlement should any stock be sold to private investors, and to ensure any funds paid to the state in reorganization are dedicated to increasing access to affordable coverage. It should not be surprising that such a rushed and less than transparent legislative process has produced such gaps in protecting health care funds. Even with these changes this bill may still be a loss for the people of New Jersey, but at least with further amendments the Legislature can institute vital guardrails against further privatization and coverage inequality."

-— Maura Collinsgru, NJ Citizen Action Health Care Program Director

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