Joe Vitale

New Jersey Governor Murphy says there will be an average 9.3 percent reduction in health insurance rates next year for consumers who purchase coverage from the state’s individual marketplace.

Murphy says the reduction results from laws he signed in May. They implement a reinsurance program next year and make New Jersey the first state to continue the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to buy health insurance or pay a penalty after that requirement was repealed at the federal level last year.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants the state Attorney General to empanel a grand jury to investigate sexual misconduct in New Jersey's catholic dioceses.

Senator Joe Vitale is making that request after a Pennsylvania grand jury reported that 300 priests sexually abused more than a thousand children over more than 60 years.

“Some of the priests that were mentioned in the Pennsylvania grand jury report were transferred to New Jersey where they continue to be part of the institution and have access to children.”

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it easier to register to vote.

Senator Joe Vitale says his bill would automatically put residents on voter registration rolls when they apply for or renew their driver's license.

He says that would eliminate the need to fill out a form to register with the local Board of Elections.

New Jersey's Attorney General is backing legislation to overhaul the state's decentralized medical examiner system.

The legislation transfers oversight of the medical examiner system from the Attorney General's office and creates an independent Office of Chief State Medical Examiner within the New Jersey Health Department.

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says the key factor of the transfer is that it will ensure the independence the person in that new position.

The federal Affordable Care Act provision imposing a tax penalty on those without health insurance expires at the end of the year. Some New Jersey lawmakers want to state to replace it with a mandate of its own.

Senator Joe Vitale says his bill would help the state's insurance marketplace remain vibrant.

The future of New Jersey’s ad campaign to combat the opioid epidemic is being examined.

The state spent about $42 million on the ‘Reach NJ’ ads that featured former Governor Chris Christie telling people where to call for help.

“If you’re struggling with addiction, supporting someone who is, or just don’t know where to turn, don’t suffer. Help is within reach.”

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says the state needs to determine whether the ads are having the desired effect.

Senator Joe Vitale
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to require high school students to be screened for the risk of substance abuse.

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says his bill would have students in 9th through 12th grades answer questions about drug use as part of their annual health assessments.

           

Senate Democratic leaders worry about Affordable Care Act repeal
Phil Gregory

 

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate are troubled that one of President Trump’s first actions was signing an executive order that seeks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says New Jersey would be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare and the accompanying expansion of Medicaid.

“It expanded health care for hundreds of thousands of people in this state and millions nationwide. And it’s not a game. We’re dealing with people’s lives right now, and it’s concerning.”