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Vitale Statement On Governor’s Veto Of Family Care And Women’s Health Funding Restoration

Vows to Work with Bipartisan Coalition to Restore Funding

TRENTON – State Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the vice chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and sponsor of S-2134, which would restore nearly $25 million which was cut from the FY 2011 Budget from the FamilyCare program to provide health care access to the uninsured, and S-2139, which would restore $7.5 million in funds which were cut for women’s health and family planning programs, issued the following statement today after the Governor vetoed the bills:

“The Governor’s veto of these bills represents a colossal mistake in terms of ensuring health care access for people who have nowhere else to turn. Not only are these vetoes inhumane, they also make little fiscal sense when you consider that the State will face much larger health care costs in terms of providing medical care for the uninsured.

“Governor Christie’s veto and his continuing disregard for the well-being of tens of thousands of working parents, places their health and lives in jeopardy.

“The Governor’s veto will drive people to seek treatment in federally-qualified health centers, which aren’t adequately funded to meet the increased demand, and emergency rooms, taking resources away from true emergency cases. When you add in the fact that the Governor has slashed funding for the AIDS drug program, more people will become sick, and more demand will be placed on our health care safety net than ever before.

“I’m at least encouraged by the fact that women’s health funding was approved with a bipartisan, veto-proof majority. I’m hoping to work with the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who understand the importance of health care access to hopefully reverse these short-sighted vetoes through a legislative override.

“Whatever the result, New Jersey has to meet its responsibility to provide adequate, affordable access to health care for the more than one million State residents who currently don’t have health insurance, or are under-insured. This isn’t a matter of tough budget choices. This is a matter of shirking our responsibility to those in greatest need.”

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