14 May: Weinberg-Gordon Bill Detailing Rules For Horizon Conversion Advances In Committee

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg and Bob Gordon which would amend State statute regarding the process for Horizon’s conversion from a not-for-profit health care insurance provider to a domestic stock insurer was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee today by a vote of 3-0, with two abstentions.

“As the largest health insurer in the State of New Jersey, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield is responsible for providing access to care for millions of State residents,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen, and Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Any conversion of Horizon from a non-profit to for-profit status could have drastic and far-reaching consequences on the availability and accessibility of care in New Jersey. We must tread very carefully in allowing Horizon to convert to for-profit status, and we must ensure that New Jersey’s Horizon subscribers are not put in jeopardy to benefit the bottom line of a health care corporation.”

11 May: Turner Calls For Public Bidding In Professional Services For State Colleges And Universities

TRENTON – As Dr. John Petillo testified about out of control spending and contracting practices at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) during today’s Senate Budget hearings, Senator Shirley K. Turner announced the introduction of a pair of bills that would reduce political patronage by requiring public bidding for professional and technical service contracts by state public colleges and universities and all levels of government.

“The State’s colleges and universities are running wild with spending, throwing away taxpayer dollars at the same time they are raising tuition,” said Senator Tuner, D-Mercer. “There is no reason for UMDNJ to give out $160 million in no bid contracts. It’s simply reprehensible. It is political patronage at its worst and our students seeking an affordable higher education are the ones who really pay the price for it in the end.”