ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION No. 163
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED OCTOBER 23, 2008
Assemblywoman SHEILA Y. OLIVER
District 34 (Essex and Passaic)
Assemblywoman ELEASE EVANS
District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)
Memorializes Congress and President to enact legislation to provide universal health insurance coverage.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Assembly Resolution memorializing Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation to provide universal health insurance coverage.
Whereas, Every person in New Jersey and the United States deserves equal access to affordable quality health care; and
Whereas, Americans have identified the lack of affordable, guaranteed health care for every citizen as one of the most critical domestic problems; and
Whereas, Illness and medical bills contribute to 50 % of all U.S. bankruptcies, affecting more than two million Americans annually, especially those without health insurance or those with inadequate health insurance coverage; and
Whereas, Americans already pay more per capita than any other nation for health care, almost twice the amount of other industrialized nations, yet according to the World Health Organization, this nation ranks 37th in health system performance; and
Whereas, The U.S. could save over $380 billion annually with an efficient, single payer national health insurance program by expanding the risk pool to the entire U.S. population, negotiating prescription drug and medical supply purchases, reducing administrative costs, and eliminating the need for administration, marketing and profits associated with private insurance; and
Whereas, These savings would fully offset the costs of insuring the 48 million Americans who are uninsured; and
Whereas, A national single payer plan restores control over medical care to the patient and the patient’s chosen medical professionals; and
Whereas, There are an estimated 1.25 million New Jersey residents who do not have health insurance coverage, of which over 240,000 are children; and
Whereas, The cost of providing health care to New Jersey’s residents has become a burden to New Jersey employers, as well as New Jersey municipalities and taxpayers. According to the Institute of Medicine, the uninsured in our State costs our State an estimated $2.9 billion annually. This far exceeds the cost to provide health insurance to these uninsured New Jersey residents, demonstrating the need to undertake a major overhaul and reform of the health insurance system; and
Whereas, New Jersey hospitals spent almost $1 billion to provide charity care in FY 2007, with $715 million reimbursed by State taxpayers, expenses that would no longer be necessary under a national health insurance program; and
Whereas, The State of New Jersey could save over $1.5 billion per year in health benefits costs for current and retired State employees under a national health insurance program proposed under federal legislation embodied in H.R. 676, the “United States National Health Insurance Act”; and
Whereas, A national health insurance program would free New Jersey doctors, hospitals and other medical care facilities from the consistent burdens and expenses of paperwork created by having to deal with multiple insurers with different rules; and
Whereas, Given New Jersey’s current fiscal crisis, in order to cover every New Jersey resident with comprehensive health insurance, the State would have to further cut aid to local governments and other very critical State programs and services; and
Whereas, H.R. 676, sponsored by Congressman John Conyers and 93 co-sponsors, including Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey, would assure comprehensive coverage to include, but not be limited to, hospital, physician, prescription drugs, vision, hearing, dental, chiropractic, mental health, drug rehabilitation, and long-term care services, for all New Jersey and U.S. residents, would protect the doctor-patient relationship, would assure patients a completely free choice of doctors, and allow physicians a free choice of practice settings; and
Whereas, H.R. 676 has the endorsement of 34 out of 50 statewide chapters of the AFL-CIO and 110 Central Labor Councils nationwide, the New Jersey State Industrial Union Council, and 10 other Statewide or countywide labor organizations in New Jersey; and
Whereas, This House believes that both controlling health care costs and ensuring health care for all residents is of vital importance; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This House respectfully memorializes the United States Congress and the President of the United States to enact H.R. 676, pending in the 110th Congress, which provides universal health insurance coverage for all individuals residing in the United States and its territories.
2. Duly authenticated copies of this resolution, signed by the Speaker of the General Assembly and attested by the Clerk thereof, shall be transmitted to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States Senate, and to every member of Congress elected from this State.
This bill respectfully memorializes Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation embodied in H.R. 676, the “United States National Health Insurance Act,” which would provide universal health insurance coverage for all individuals residing in the United States and its territories. H.R. 676 would create a single payer, not-for-profit health care system which would improve access to care and eliminate covered benefit health care costs for individuals.
Under H.R. 676, covered benefits would include, but are not limited to, all medically necessary procedures, primary care and prevention, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long-term care, mental health services, the full scope of dental services other than cosmetic dentistry, substance abuse and treatment services, chiropractic services, basic vision care and correction other than laser vision correction for cosmetic purposes, and hearing services including coverage of hearing aids, without deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance, or other cost sharing-.mechanisms.