13 Sep: Whelan-Weinberg Bill To Create Program On Chronic Medical Conditions In State Health Benefits Plan

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee Chairman Jim Whelan and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg which would create a pilot program within the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) to address chronic health conditions for public employees was approved by the State Government Committee today by a vote of 3-0, with two abstentions.

“When you talk about health care costs, you need to take a serious look at preventive care and chronic illness management to help lower health insurance costs across the board,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “By promoting chronic disease management through the State Health Benefits plan, we stand to save the taxpayers money in the long-run, and promote better health care outcomes for individuals covered by the SHBP who are living with chronic health conditions. It the savings are substantial – and I think they will be – I can foresee us expanding this pilot program across the board in the future.”

“One of the biggest cost drivers of health insurance today is the cost of treating chronic health conditions after those conditions become health care emergencies,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “When it comes to public employees covered by the SHBP, not only do taxpayers foot the bill for health coverage for individuals with unmanaged chronic health conditions, but they also pay the cost as a result of missed days of work resulting from the employee’s unmanaged chronic health condition. This pilot program will allow public employees to make smarter health decisions when it comes to chronic disease management, resulting in lower health care premiums for the taxpayers, fewer missed days of work, and better healthcare outcomes for the employee.”

16 Aug: Vitale: Needle Law Needed Now More Than Ever

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, sponsor of a bill to legalize clean needle exchange programs, today said a State appeals court ruling blocking one in Atlantic City, heightens the need for his bill’s enactment.

“The longer we delay, the more lives we lose to dirty needles,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Our action in the Legislature will overcome this judicial blockade.”