There's still some doubt about whether or not that controversial Section 76 of the New Jersey Benefits and Pension Reform legislation is actually in the bill.
Section 76 virtually prohibits plan enrolls from seeking health care at out-of-state doctors or facilities. Instead, it forces participants to get their care in New Jersey.
Earlier today, Democrat leaders of the Senate and Assembly said they would change the bill after it passed the Senate. The bill has now passed the Senate with just enough Democrat support.
Now, Democrat leaders say they will amend the bill by effectively repealing Section 76 and introducing a separate piece of legislation — also to be voted on today — replacing the out-of-state provision with new language that they claim loosens several restrictions.
Reportedly, two types of health plans would now be offered: One would of the plans allow out-of-state care for workers who pay part of the cost out of pocket. The other would restrict care to New Jersey hospitals unless state health officials deemed that no one inside the state could handle a particular case.
But we don't know how much of the costs would have to be paid by the workers who want the out-of-state plans.
State Sen. (and former Acting Governor) Richard Codey (D-Essex) said the new language made no difference.
"It's not going to change," he said." Workers would still be locked out from out-of-state care because their share of the costs would be too high under the new health care plans, he said.
So, has anything really changed?
Until we know for sure, keep contacting your state legislators and demanding the freedom to go wherever you need to go to get the kind of medical care you want, need and deserve.
Click here for information on how to contact your state legislators.
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