TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement today regarding a photo exhibit held in the Statehouse which he sponsored along with Catholic Health East-New Jersey to highlight continued support for health care programs in the FY 2010 Budget:
“Recognizing that the State faces a historic crisis in revenues, I understand that many valuable programs cannot be funded at the level they were last year. But when it comes to the programs people depend on to have access to high-quality health care, I and other health care advocates remain hopeful that some of these funding cuts will be blunted, and that we can continue to provide care for those in greatest need.
“At this point in the State Budget negotiations, with votes on the budget pending before the full Senate and General Assembly tomorrow, it’s very easy to look at the proposed spending plan as a series of random line items and disconnected dollar figures.
“However, before we vote on the budget, I’d ask policy-makers to take very serious consideration of the human implications of the FY 2010 Budget, and its impact on the uninsured and underinsured in New Jersey.
“Hopefully, we will be able to reach a middle-ground to continue the viability of the health care safety net in New Jersey.
“I hope my colleagues will take note of this photo exhibit, and hear the stories of folks who have lost health care coverage because of the economic crisis. These are people who are committed to working hard to make ends meet, but have fallen on hard times.
“Their stories are compelling, heart-breaking, and unfortunately, becoming more and more common across the Garden State.
“Over the next couple days, I’m going to continue to work with Governor Corzine and members of the Legislature to identify ways to maintain our support for vital health care safety net programs like NJ FamilyCare. Now more than ever, these programs are needed to help our constituents get by, and we must remain committed to providing access to medical care for those in need in the Garden State.”