NJ Politics Digest: Democrats Seek to Bring Individual Mandate Back to New Jersey

Congress has managed to do away with the Affordable Health Care Act's Individual Mandate, requiring all adults to have insurance coverage.

A computer screen shows the enrollment page for the Affordable Care Act. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republicans in Congress have managed to do away with the Affordable Health Care Act’s Individual Mandate, requiring all adults to have insurance coverage.

But Democrats in New Jersey are now moving to implement their own version of the mandate for the state.

NJSpotlight reports the measure, which like its federal predecessor would require residents to obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty, has been approved by the state Senate’s Commerce Committee over the objections of some Republican members.

Democrats says the measure is needed to stabilize insurance costs in the state, which rose as much as 28 percent this year—a hike that experts say is about three times what it should have been and was caused by uncertainty over federal policy, according to the report. The hike translates into an average additional $1,600 for a family of four.

Experts warn that, without the mandate, costs will continue to increase, as will the cost of charity care—which hospitals must provide to those who don’t have insurance. Hospitals are reimbursed for the care from the budget.

Republicans worry about making people purchase insurance they can’t afford.

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NJ Politics Digest: Democrats Seek to Bring Individual Mandate Back to New Jersey