Dismayed by the recent decision to freeze funding in the state budget for the Palliative Care Pilot Program in Teaneck and the South Jersey Cancer Program in Camden, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington) released the following joint statement:
“After the recent combined efforts of the Governor and Legislature to establish a state-based Health Exchange in New Jersey, it is absolutely baffling that the Governor would turn around and withhold funding for vital healthcare programs in our state.
“It is our duty as elected officials to safeguard the health and well-being of our residents, yet the choice to freeze over $18 million in funding for hospitals that admit tens of thousands of patients every year, leaves many of those patients without the care they so desperately need.
“Cooper University Health Care’s Cancer Program provides educational information, preventative screenings and comprehensive treatment that is critical to South Jersey residents. Meanwhile, patients in Holy Name Hospital’s Palliative Care Pilot Program receive relief from unimaginable pain that helps give them the quality of life they deserve as they battle serious illnesses.
“The Legislature is confident in the revenue projections we established in this year’s budget, and, obviously, so was the Governor who certified those same projections when signing it on June 30. Freezing funds for these – and other programs – is a pointless effort that abandons, rather than supports, the organizations and residents of New Jersey in need. The budget we presented exemplified our shared democratic priorities and its obligations must be fully met without skewed political motivation.
“‘Whose side are you on?’ is certainly a catchy phrase. However, for us, it holds real meaning for the residents we represent in our legislative districts. We know whose side we’re on. We’re on the side of the people who need our help the most, including the many vulnerable patients who rely on these important healthcare programs.”