If JERSEYCare were available in Jersey City (shown above), managers would have to charge premiums high enough to make theplan viable, according to the text of A-4211. (Photo: Allison Bell/LHP)

New Jersey state Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Democrat, has introduced the “New Jersey Public Option Health Care Act” bill.

If adopted, the “JERSEYCare” bill would create a state-run, publicly-funded health plan.

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The bill, A-4211, would not replace the state’s traditional health insurance system. Instead, the bill would work within the existing framework to create what Assemblyman Gusciora characterized as “an affordable alternative.”

Under the bill, the health commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of Banking and Insurance, would be required to establish and implement the program, which would provide a comprehensive health insurance coverage option for every state resident who enrolls in the program.

The health insurance coverage offered by the program would compete in the market with insurance offered by private health insurers.

Under the bill, every resident of the state would be eligible and entitled to enroll as a member under the program. The commissioner of Health would establish premiums in a manner to make the program viable, but at the lowest possible cost to members.

The commissioner also would establish and maintain procedures and standards for health care providers to be qualified to participate in the program. Any health care provider who was qualified to participate under Medicaid, N.J. FamilyCare, or Medicare would be deemed to be qualified to participate in the program.

Steven A. Meyerowitz, Esq., is the Director of FC&S Legal, the Editor-in-Chief of the Insurance Coverage Law Report, and the founder and president of Meyerowitz Communications Inc. 

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