Senator Redd Statement On Budget Hearing On Dept. Of Health

Senator Dana Redd, D-Camden and Gloucester, speaks at the meeting of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

TRENTON – Senator Dana Redd, D-Camden and Gloucester, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s Committee hearing on the FY 2009 Budget, and its affect on the State Department of Health and Senior Services:

“In New Jersey, one of our most sacred obligations is ensuring health care access for those citizens in greatest need. But as health care costs soar through the roof, meeting that obligation is becoming more and more difficult, and more expensive.

“While my legislative district is spared much of the health care pain experienced around the State in the FY 2009 Budget, I’m concerned that underfunding charity care will result in a Statewide health care crisis. We know that when hospitals provide health care to the uninsured, it’s a costly proposition. But without fair reimbursement for care, the pressure to close can be too great to withstand.

“I’m also greatly concerned with increases in the Medicaid co-payment for seniors on fixed incomes. New Jersey has among the highest costs of living in the nation, and any plan to charge more for necessary prescriptions or medical services must be reconsidered.

“We’re seeing a trend in our State’s urban centers of hospital closures which will continue and worsen unless State government intercedes. Even in difficult times, we cannot turn our backs on the health care plight of the poor, and we cannot balance our budget on the backs of those people who are already struggling to make ends meet. We need to seek alternatives to health care cuts which will have the greatest negative affect on the lives of New Jersey’s residents.”