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Conaway Calls on Christie to Heed Will of People and Sign Legislation Creating Access to Affordable, Quality Health Insurance

Assemblyman Cites Latest Poll Results Showing Majority of New Jerseyans Want State to Create Purchasing Network for Affordable Health Insurance

Assemblyman Herb Conaway, M.D. – the lead Assembly sponsor of legislation to create a New Jersey health benefits exchange program to provide access to affordable, quality health insurance – on Thursday called on Governor Christie to heed the will of the people and sign the legislation into law.

Conaway sited the results of a poll released today by AARP which shows that an overwhelming majority (58 percent) of New Jerseyans support the concept laid out in the bill, which would create a statewide health insurance exchange, a key component of the federal health reform law. Even more overwhelming, 70 percent “expressed concern about not being able to afford the health care services their family may need,” according to the poll.

“This legislation is a key component in providing quality and affordable health care to every New Jerseyan,” Conaway said. “The exchange is designed to promote choice and make insurance purchasing more value-based by allowing an individual or small business to compare the costs and benefits of various health plans and benefit options. The Governor should embrace this legislation for the sake of the 1.3 million uninsured New Jerseyans and the countless others who struggle to afford their existing insurance.”

Conaway’s legislation (A-2171) was approved two weeks ago by both the Assembly and the Senate and now awaits action by the Governor.

Conaway noted that New Jersey must have a working exchange by January 2014 to comply with and capitalize on the national healthcare reform law. Conaway said the bill will position New Jersey to help working people and small businesses receive billions of dollars in available federal tax credits.

“Federal subsidy support to help individuals purchase insurance coverage depends on a functioning exchange,” Conaway said. “We must move expeditiously to create an exchange so that New Jerseyans can get the affordable care they need. With such information, purchasers will be able to do a better job selecting a health plan that is within their price range.”