Legislation Updates & Upcoming Meeting

To all members of our NJUHC community,

This is our first newsletter in some time. We had to switch all of our data over to new Customer Relations Management software, but we are now up and running. Since our last membership meeting in November, we have been busy forming teams to lobby our State legislators for passage of our universal coverage bills: A4538 and S304 (note new numbering of the Senate bill).

We have met with Assemblyman John Allen (NJ 32) and are planning additional meetings with Assemblyman Karabinchak and Senators Mukherji and Stack. Asm. Allen has tentatively agreed to introduce a revised and improved version of A4538 (in previous legislative session) in the current legislative session, and the companion Senate bill (already introduced) will be revised to reflect those changes.

Our Legislative Strategy is Unique

While a number of progressive States (notably NY, CA, WA, MA, among others) are crafting their own single payer legislation, each attempts to create its own infrastructure – with its own rules, payment models, and administrative costs. Our goal is to use the (well established) infrastructure of existing (traditional) Medicare to cover all NJ residents. While there are some recognized concerns with this approach, the advantages (no pun intended) of covering everyone under original Medicare are many. Traditional Medicare has an overhead of 2-3%, far lower than commercial carriers. Covering all under Medicare would immediately reduce the number of uninsured and under-insured in NJ to “zero”. Additional coverage (ie “Medigap”) can be purchased privately as is currently the case, or (in the case of labor union members and retiree beneficiaries) provided by their negotiated contracts. Medicaid recipients and veterans would retain all current coverage, and State of New Jersey employees would also be covered under Federal Medicare, with the State providing the “Medigap” coverage.

No, I have not forgotten doctors, hospitals, and other health providers – they would have to be paid not at strict Medicare rates, but at Medicare “plus” some additional amount to mitigate (at least to some extent) the inevitable loss of ‘provider’ revenue with this approach. Remember, however, that ‘provider’ overhead should also fall.

Virtual General Membership Meeting April 6 at 10:30 AM

We are still working out the details of financing, and to whet your appetite, the speaker for our Spring General Membership Meeting will be Dr. Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts. He has written extensively on the economics of Medicare For All, and he will be assisting us in our financial calculations and help us determine the economic impact of our planned legislation. Please save the date: Saturday April 6, at the usual time of 10:30 AM, via Zoom. Please make plans to attend!

Board Election

We will also be holding our Board elections at the April 6 meeting. The list below includes organizations in good standing that are currently represented on our Board, and that have agreed to be nominated for another two-year term.

Organizations with ‘permanent’ status:

PNHP: Lloyd Alterman & Alan Kenwood

Healthcare-Now: Tom Knoche & Paula Friedman

NJSIUC: Carol Gay & David Weiner

Organizations with positions expiring June 2024:

PDA:  Catherine Hunt & Linda Gochfeld

Green Party:  Tom Cannavo & Brian Bendar

Organizations with positions expiring June 2025:

South Jersey NOW: Michela Colosimo & Fran Gomolson

Religious Society of Friends: Laura Cisar

Cooper Rowan Chapter of SNaHP:  James Waters

Legal Counsel:

Bennet Zurofsky

Our by-laws call for an eleven member Board, so we will have three vacancies. We welcome nominees from other member organizations (current or new) that want to be represented on our Board to fill these vacancies. If any of you have friends or colleagues whom you think might be interested in joining our cause for universal healthcare please encourage them to join us!

Membership Dues and Donations

A reminder: dues for 2024 are now payable. Only about half our active member organizations have renewed to date. Organizational dues for 2024 remain $100 and we also encourage individual memberships ($25).

Donations are of course always welcome. Our website facilitates donations through the ActBlue portal.

We are a 501c4 organization and thus donations are not tax deductible, but please be assured that we are mindful of stretching every dollar for maximum benefit to all single payer advocates.

I want to wish each and every one of you a healthy and safe 2024 as we continue to navigate the challenges of building the infrastructure to make health care a human right.

‘Everybody in, nobody out!’

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