TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and author of a plan to make health care affordable for all New Jersey residents, issued the following statement today after the Senate unanimously approved the first phase of his plan:
“Tonight in New Jersey, a quarter million kids will go to sleep without the protection offered by even basic health insurance. These are kids who have to wait until they’re very seriously ill or hurt before they can go to the hospital to have access to care. As a moral society, we cannot turn our backs on the plight of these kids, who are falling through the gaps in New Jersey’s health care safety net.
“This bill represents a new way of thinking about our State’s obligation to the uninsured. Rather than encouraging bad health practices by forcing the uninsured to seek emergency room care, we would be allowing people to get regular check-ups, and receive care for minor medical problems before they become serious health care concerns. Studies have shown that preventive care costs less than emergency care – so we can get better health care results for less money.
“In addition, as State residents are struggling with the high cost of living in the Garden State, we want to make sure that people who are already paying for health care in the individual and small-business markets can continue to afford that care. Through market-level reforms, we can help stabilize skyrocketing healthcare costs, and protect health care consumers from having to make tough choices about dropping coverage.
“This is a bill whose time has come in New Jersey. We cannot afford the status quo, and we need to spend health care dollars smarter to make the most of our State’s health investment. This bill puts us on the right track to affordable health care for all, and will make New Jersey a national leader in terms of ensuring that every person in the State has a right to appropriate, high-quality health care.”