(TRENTON) – 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 – issued the following statement Thursday concerning Gov. Christie’s veto of the bill (A-2171):
“The governor has sent a clear message to the 1.3 million uninsured New Jerseyeans and the many others who are underinsured and struggle to afford their existing insurance. He doesn’t care.
“This legislation would have made quality and affordable health care possible for every New Jersey resident. It would have positioned New Jersey to help working people and small businesses receive billions of dollars in available federal tax credits to purchase insurance coverage.
“Health care is not a commodity. No one should have to choose between their health and paying their bills. The exchange would have given individuals the ability to choose a health plan they could afford. It was supported by both houses, but more importantly, by an overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans worried about not being able to afford the health care services their families need.
“Today, their concerns fell on deaf ears. By vetoing this bill, Gov. Christie has failed New Jersey’s uninsured residents, hurt New Jersey’s chances of fully benefiting from federal health care reform and ignored the need to provide relief to hospitals for uncompensated care.
“I am disappointed that Gov. Christie put national political pressures ahead of the well-being of New Jersey. His actions have once again shown his complete disregard for our most vulnerable populations.”