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TRENTON – Responding to Governor Christie’s decision to turn over creation of New Jersey’s health exchange to the federal government, Senate Commerce Chairwoman Nia H. Gill today introduced a measure to ensure oversight of the health exchange implementation and operation.
“With hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans expected to purchase health insurance on the exchange, we have to be sure that the unique health care needs of our residents are met,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “In order to do that, we must ensure that we have a mechanism in place to oversee the process and provide input on the appropriate role of the state as we move forward.”
Senator Gill was the sponsor of two bills that laid out the framework for creating a state-based health insurance exchange, both of which were vetoed by the Governor. Last week, the Governor announced that he has opted for a federally-administered health exchange in New Jersey.
The Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR-144) would create a task force charged with overseeing and developing recommendations for the implementation of a health exchange in accordance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The “Joint Legislative Task Force on Health Insurance Exchange Implementation” would also develop recommendations on the scope of the state’s role in health insurance exchange operations to ensure that the state benefits to the maximum extent practicable from the exchange. In addition, the panel would make recommendations as would best ensure a coordinated effort among state agencies, health care providers, third party providers and the federal government to implement the heath exchange in New Jersey.
“Given the options available to states to partner with the federal government or to take over operation of the exchange in the future, it is essential that the Legislature has a role in overseeing its operations,” said Senator Gill. “This bipartisan task force will ensure that the Legislative Branch is well informed about the activities of the exchange and of any possible legislative or administrative action necessary to ensure that it is operating effectively and that our residents and the state are benefiting to the maximum extent possible under the law.”
The task force would be comprised of 12 members, with appointments made by the Senate President, the Speaker, the Senate and Assembly Minority Leaders as well as the chairs of the committees overseeing health and insurance issues in each house. The panel would be required to provide the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly with quarterly updates of its activities, findings, conclusions, and recommendations for legislation or administrative action.
In addition, the task force would be required to issue annual reports to include recommendations for legislation or administrative action, including any recommendations to expand the role of the State in implementing the health insurance exchange in New Jersey, to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, and the Minority Leaders of the Senate and General Assembly with the first annual report being issued one year after the date of enactment of the resolution.
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