Senate Democrats Introduce Resolution Urging Governor To Support Federal Health Care Reform

Lawmakers Say Governor’s Flirtations with National Ultra-Conservative Movement Could Cost State Health Care Dollars for Senior Assistance Programs

TRENTON – Citing Governor Chris Christie’s recent remarks on NJ 101.5’s call-in-show, “Ask the Governor,” that he is considering joining in a lawsuit to overturn federal health care reform, a group of Senate Democrats yesterday introduced legislation urging the Governor to support the health care reform effort.

“This should be a matter of principle over ideology,” said Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “A few weeks ago, the Governor announced a plan to restore funding for senior prescription drug programs through an expected increase in federal aid due to the Affordable Health Care Act. Since these funds are so important to the Governor’s plan to protect senior programs, he shouldn’t be telling a Statewide audience that he is thinking about joining an ultra-conservative movement to overturn the law that appropriates those funds.”

“The Governor’s flirtations with radical national conservatives aside, federal health care reform is good for New Jersey,” said Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union. “It will result in more funding for New Jersey from the federal government, better access to care, and more affordable care for health care consumers covered under a private health insurance plan. It might not make him Rush Limbaugh’s favorite person, but if Governor Christie comes out in support of federal health care reform, he’d show the sort of bipartisan leadership that the people of New Jersey demand from their elected leaders.”

The resolution, SCR-108, would call on the Governor to come out in support of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in March. Since it was signed, a coalition of radical conservatives, many associated with the Tea Party movement, have urged public figures across the country to sign on to a lawsuit seeking to overturn the new law. To date, 18 states – 14 of which are led by Republican governors – have signed on to the legal challenge.

“National health care reform will enable hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans to gain access to affordable and dependable health care,” said Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Vice Chairman Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Our Governor, cabinet members and legislators all have some of the best health insurance taxpayer money can buy. Why shouldn’t New Jersey’s working families be able to participate?”

The resolution is sponsored by Senators Lesniak and Vitale, and is co-sponsored by ten other Senate Democrats, including Senate President Sweeney, Health Committee Chairwoman Loretta Weinberg and Majority Leader Barbara Buono. It is expected to be considered by the Senate Health Committee.

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