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New Jersey approves controversial health insurance law

On May 30, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey enacted a law that demands all residents in the state of New Jersey must receive health insurance or suffer a penalty from not having it. This marks New Jersey as the second state to demand individual health insurance following Massachusetts’ bill in 2006.

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With this new bill, all residents in New Jersey must have health insurance by the first of January in 2019 — this gives the population seven months to register for individual or public insurance options. This bill is modeled after President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which has been under constant assault by Republican opponents of the law.

Additionally, Gov. Murphy also enacted an additional piece of legislation in order to make insurance more attainable for the public. This “reinsurance” program seeks to cover the costs of patients who might have trouble affording individual health insurance, such as the chronically sick or elderly. By aiding these struggling individuals, it thereby keeps health insurance premium costs lower for everyone else, making the insurance more accessible to the citizens of New Jersey.

This law makes New Jersey the latest state to try and address the country’s broken healthcare system.

Seven in 10 people go to the ER on consumer-sponsored insurance that shouldn’t have gone to the ER in the first place, but it was because of this coverage that people were able to receive treatment at all. For those that aren’t able to afford the new mandated insurance plans, a “hardship exceptions” can be worked out between the individual and the government in order to avoid fines.

Though some may question the plausibility behind this bill, Massachusetts has already set an astounding example — with over 97% of Massachusetts citizens being covered by insurance. This gives them the highest number of insured people in the United States. Additionally, three other states are considering reinsurance efforts modeled after Obamacare, such as Oregon, Minnesota, and Alaska.

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New Jersey approves controversial health insurance law