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Vitale: New Jersey One Step Closer To Universal Health Care

Senator Says Landmark FamilyCare Legislation ‘Will Ensure All Have Access to Care’

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and a prime sponsor of legislation which will restructure New Jersey’s FamilyCare program to provide access to quality health care for New Jersey’s working families, issued the following statement on today’s emergency vote and unanimous approval of his bill:

“Today, the New Jersey Senate took a bold, but necessary step to ensure that all of our State’s residents, regardless of their economic background, have access to the quality health care that they need.

“With an emergency vote and unanimous approval of legislation designed to revolutionize New Jersey’s FamilyCare health insurance program for the working poor, we are in line to become the second state in the nation, behind Vermont, to ensure that all of our State’s children have a shot at decent health care coverage.

“The statistics speak volumes about the need for reforming the system. In New Jersey, there are approximately 264,000 children who lack access to affordable health care coverage. Of them, nearly 200,000 are currently eligible for the State’s FamilyCare coverage, but have not applied due to obstacles inherent in the application process.

“In the restructured FamilyCare program, the enrollment process will be streamlined and simplified. Families don’t need to be interrogated to know that they need help when it comes to health care, and the simpler enrollment process will make it easier for FamilyCare to accomplish its goal of universal health care in New Jersey.

“In addition, the 64,000 children who are not eligible but obviously need some sort of affordable health care could be covered through a buy-in provision in the new legislation. The cost would be about $100 a month, but the benefits of having quality affordable health care are priceless.

“I will work with my colleagues in the Assembly to get FamilyCare legislation passed as soon as possible. New Jersey has waited long enough for the promise of FamilyCare to be realized. With swift enactment of the bill to reauthorize the State’s FamilyCare program, we will be on the road to a healthier future for all of our State’s residents.”

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