NJ Politics Digest: NJ Obamacare Premiums Could Soar in 2018

Roundup of daily news.

An Obamacare sign in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act’s future could lead to steep premium hikes for New Jersey residents.

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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, proposed a 22 percent rate increase for those who buy their own insurance, while AmeriHealth is seeking rate hikes of up to 59 percent for its Obamacare plans. Horizon said its proposed rate increase, the largest since the health law took effect in 2014, would have been much smaller if not for the unknown future of the ACA, which Republicans have been trying to repeal and replace.

New Jersey residents and politicians are still speaking out about the racial violence in Virginia over the weekend. And President Trump called out the white supremacist organizers during a news conference Monday, two days after one woman died and scores were injured when the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville turned violent.

Quote of the Day: “To be sure, there would be an outcry of protest should Christie appoint himself.  But why would he care?” — Alan J. Steinberg, former EPA Regional Administrator, speculating on whether Gov. Chris Christie would appoint himself to replace Sen. Bob Menendez should he resign.

NJ Obamacare premiums higher in 2018 because of uncertainty in DC, insurers say
New Jersey’s largest health insurer has proposed raising premiums by an average of 22 percent next year for people who buy their own coverage, while another insurer wants rates for its Obamacare plans to climb as much as 59 percent.
The Record Read more

NJ Leaders Denounce White Supremacists After Charlottesville
President Trump on Monday condemned weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va., that took the life of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counter-protester killed by a white nationalist who plowed through a crowd with his car.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Former NJ Senate President John Russo Dies at 84
John Russo, a longtime leader in state politics who authored more than 200 laws and rose to become state Senate president, died Saturday after fighting cancer. He was 84.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Prieto selects Hudson County Democratic operative for spot on Horizon board
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has appointed one of his top political operatives to the board of directors of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
Politico Read more

NJ Transit Delays Mount After Agency Stalls Projects to Pay Bills
Public-transportation agencies typically ask their states and cities to ante up when they run short of funds for operating expenses like paying employees, fixing tracks or replacing worn parts. Not New Jersey Transit.
Bloomberg Read more

Merck’s CEO quits Trump’s council over Charlottesville, the president claps back
Merck CEO Ken Frazier quit President Trump’s manufacturing business council on Monday, following the president’s widely criticized response to violence that erupted after a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville over the weekend.
The Record Read more

What did other N.J. business leaders do after Merck CEO quit Trump council in protest?
While the CEO of New Jersey pharmaceutical giant Merck quit a White House business advisory board Monday in protest over President Donald Trump’s reaction to the deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia, at least one other leader of a Garden State company is remaining on the panel.
NJ.com Read more

What 2 ex-N.J. governors say about Guadagno’s chances; region’s transportation needs
The following exchange between former New Jersey governors Brendan T. Byrne and Tom Kean took place via telephone last week.
NJ.com Read more

The Work to Fix NJ’s School Funding Formula Has Just Begun
The school funding deal reached during the recent budget impasse is a small step in the right direction. Clearly, New Jersey’s next governor still has much work to accomplish.
Observer Read more

Comptroller to Appraise Governor, Lawmakers on Follow-Up Audits
The State Comptroller’s office has had such success uncovering millions of dollars in waste, a law has now been enacted to make sure the Legislature and governor get updates on how public agencies are responding to the audits.
NJSpotlight Read more

Lakewood school board President Barry Iann quits for second time
The president of the school district’s Board of Education — who suddenly quit last month but rescinded his resignation days later — says he’s quitting again.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Penneast Wants Fast-Track Approval for Pipeline
PennEast Pipeline LLC is seeking an expedited order from a federal agency to fast track approval of its 120-mile project, arguing it is needed to meet obligations to ship natural gas to major energy markets.
NJSpotlight Read more

In Hoboken mayoral race, Romano adds running mate, DeFusco unveils school plan
It was a busy Monday in Hoboken politics, when announcements included Councilman David Mello’s joining the council slate of mayoral candidate Anthony Romano, whose rival for mayor Councilman Michael DeFusco announced his plans to build a new high school on the city’s north end.
NJ.com Read more

NJ Politics Digest: NJ Obamacare Premiums Could Soar in 2018