“Obamacare,” the Republicans’ preferred term for the landmark federal health law, was front and center in the state Senate chamber Thursday, as they debated on whether to create a Legislative Task Force on Health Care Reform.
The bill, SCR-141, passed by a vote of 24-15.
The Republican lawmakers who spoke said the fate of “Obamacare” is still up in the air after some state Supreme Courts ruled it was unconstitutional to impose it. They said it was too early to determine if the health care reform, which was passed last March along party lines, would be implemented.
“The costs to our state will be incredibly large and unmanageable,” said Sen. Jennifer Beck, (R-12) of Red Bank.
Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, (R-13), of Middletown, said the federal health law would increase costs, further burdening cash-strapped residents.
Sen. Joe Pennachio, (R-26), of Pine Brook, said he would much prefer seeing health care costs go down through tort reform and giving residents the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, rather than through the implementation of “Obamacare.”
Sen. Joseph Vitale, (D-19), of Woodbridge, said regardless of one’s like or dislike of the law, it is here and the state must move to help deliver health care to its residents. He said millions of Americans will be helped by it, especially the 1.5 million New Jersey residents who currently lack coverage.
Among other bills that were passed in Thursday’s session:
S-870: Bill passed unanimously, 40-0. The bill enables municipal court judges to waive illegal parking charges for individuals who parked in a handicapped parking space, if they can show their handicapped parking placard was valid the day they were issued a ticket. Individuals may still have to pay court costs, though, the bill stated.
S-1730 passed 33-4. It would require some public workers of state government, municipalities, state colleges, school districts, among other entities, to have their primary residence in New Jersey. Employees will have one year to set up their primary residence in the Garden State after starting a public sector job.
S-2458 passed unanimously. The bill would require assisted living facilities and other personal care homes to provide a sheet of resident rights to each resident, and post it in a location at the facility for many to see.
It would also require people who run the home to inform each resident, and the resident’s family, among others, of their resident’s rights, and is able to sign a copy of the statement of rights.
S-2068 passed unanimously 40-0. It would authorize a dedicated line item on the property tax bill to fund municipal free public libraries.