HAMILTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the prime sponsor of legislation to restructure the State’s FamilyCare program to provide affordable or no-cost health insurance to the working poor, issued the following statement today on the bill’s signing into law:
“With the stroke of Governor Codey’s pen, New Jersey is once again at the forefront in the quest for universal health care for our State’s neediest residents.
New Jersey FamilyCare will no doubt shine like a beacon to other states, showing what government can do when we put the moral obligation to provide quality health care to every citizen at the top of our agenda.
“Health care is not just a privilege. It is a right, that every person should be entitled to, whether they make $1.8 million a year, or $1,800 a year. And if we cannot provide for a high-quality health care safety net for our children and for future generations, we are shirking one of the most important responsibilities entrusted to us as leaders of this State.
“Passage of the FamilyCare reform bill into law puts a greater emphasis on preventive care, such as regular doctors’ office visits, over episodic care, such as emergency room visits, because we know that relying solely on episodic care is bad economics, and even worse than that, it’s bad medicine.
“We are reopening the program for parents under a certain income threshold, because we realize that many of the socioeconomic factors that make health care unaffordable for children often follow people into their adulthood, and abandoning them on their eighteenth birthday is not the answer. We also know that in some cases, the key to getting children the health care they need is to provide a program that covers the entire family, to ensure that everyone has access.
“And finally, we’ve created a streamlined enrollment process, and greater cooperation between programs for the working poor, to ensure that those who can benefit from FamilyCare receive the information they need to enroll, and are not scared off by an unnecessarily long and complex process.
“With these reforms, FamilyCare is once again in its prime, and we will be able to meet the health care needs of New Jersey’s working-class residents. We have proven that compassion and sound public policy and the concern for the bottom-line are not mutually exclusive ideals, and the ultimate beneficiaries will be the thousands of healthy, smiling faces that make up the future of the Garden State.”
CLICK HERE TO READ A NEWS RELEASE FROM SENATOR VITALE AND SENATOR BUONO ON TODAY’S BILL SIGNING
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