Will Introduce Legislation Creating Joint Legislative Task Force
TRENTON – Responding to Governor Christie’s decision to turn over creation of New Jersey’s health exchange to the federal government, Senate Commerce Chairwoman Nia H. Gill announced today that she will introduce legislation to ensure oversight of the health exchange implementation and operation.
“Federal health reform will provide hundreds of thousands of residents with the opportunity to receive health coverage, many who will access insurance through the exchange,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “Despite the governor’s decision to yield to the federal government to create our exchange, we in the Legislature have an obligation to ensure the health exchange created in our state meets the unique needs of our residents. To do that, we must continue to be involved in the process.”
Senator Gill was the sponsor of two bills that laid out the framework for creating a state-based health insurance exchange. The governor vetoed both bills, making New Jersey one of only two states in the nation to have the Executive Branch veto a bill to create a state-based exchange. Today, he announced he has opted for a federally-administered exchange.
“It is critical that the Legislature is involved in overseeing the implementation and operation of the exchange,” said Senator Gill. “Given the number of people who are expected to purchase coverage and the potential for the state to assume an increased role in the exchange, possibly taking it over at some point in the future, we must ensure adequate oversight and involvement by the Legislative Branch of government.”
The senator’s legislation would create a task force charged with overseeing and developing recommendations for the implementation of a health exchange in accordance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The “Joint Legislative Task Force on Health Insurance Exchange Implementation” would also develop recommendations on the scope of the state’s role in health insurance exchange operations to ensure that the state benefits to the maximum extent practicable from the exchange. In addition, the panel would make recommendations as would best ensure a coordinated effort among state agencies, health care providers, third party providers and the federal government to implement the heath exchange in New Jersey.
The senator expects to introduce the legislation at the next Senate quorum.