The New Obamacare

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy | AP Photo

Murphy said he also wants to codify a number of ACA protections in state law, a move that would require the support of the state Legislature, which is also controlled by Democrats. | AP Photo

New Jersey proposes state-based Obamacare exchange

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday proposed creating a state-based health exchange, saying the state could offer better services while guarding the Affordable Care Act against the Trump administration‘s efforts to undermine it.

The Democratic governor sent a declaration of intent letter to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, formally proposing the exchange. Murphy said he believes the state can overcome the regulatory hurdles and get the exchange up and running in time to register for the fall 2020 enrollment period.

Story Continued Below

Implementing a state exchange, rather than relying on healthcare.gov, would allow the state to set its own enrollment period, which the Trump administration has shortened. It could also offer opportunities to brand the New Jersey exchange as a way to promote enrollment.

“A true New Jersey exchange will be a strong measure of independence at a time when the federal administration continues to undermine and weaken the federal marketplace in their misguided efforts to dismantle and weaken the Affordable Care Act,” Murphy said at a press conference.

Some large states, including California and New York, operate their own exchanges and have been able to cushion the blow of ACA changes by the Trump administration. The exchanges first opened at the end of 2013. At the time, then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie chose to have the federal government manage enrollment for the state. Christie did break with most Republicans when he expanded Medicaid.

Murphy said the efforts to weaken Obamacare — from the shorter enrollment period to funding cuts for advertising and navigators — had forced his hand. He said he wants to “put destiny in our owns hands.”

“If we had a benign to positive administration that was doing what the Obama administration was, to take something as imperfect as the Affordable Care Act and, step by step, make it better, I’m not sure we would be doing this today,” Murphy said. “But we have, among other things, no other choice given the current federal administration.”

Marlene Caride, commissioner of the state’s Department of Banking and Insurance, said she expects the state-based exchange to cost New Jersey about the same amount of money it sends to the federal government to support the federal exchange. That money comes from a 3.5 percent fee imposed on premiums. The state Legislature would need to act to appropriate the money.

“We believe we can operate a state-based exchange and provide additional benefits to New Jersey residents with the funding we currently send to Washington, estimated to be over $50 million for 2019,” Caride said. “To do that, we will transfer that funding to New Jersey. We know that we can better utilize New Jersey money to protect New Jersey residents and get a better return on our investment.”

A spokesperson for the governor could not immediately provide a precise cost estimate.

Murphy, the chairman-elect of the Democratic Governors Association, has touted efforts to shore up Obamacare in New Jersey since he was elected in November 2017. But the governor has dodged questions in the past about creating a state-based exchange, which can carry the same sort of logistical headaches that even the federal government has had to work through.

Murphy said he also wants to codify a number of ACA protections in state law, a move that would require the support of the state Legislature, which is also controlled by Democrats.

Those provisions include prohibitions on exclusions based on pre-existing conditions; a requirement that dependents be covered to age 26; a mandate to cover essential health benefits; a prohibition on lifetime and annual limits; and a prohibition on coverage that includes cost sharing for preventative services.

“We cannot leave to chance the gains we’ve made in ensuring more affordable health care coverage for more New Jerseyans,” Murphy said at the press conference, held at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. “The right of every New Jerseyan to a health care policy worth more than the paper it’s printed on requires us to take these steps.”

Dan Goldberg contributed to this report.

>This article tagged under:
>
New Jersey icon

Trenton Morning Newsletter

A morning email with must-read analysis and breaking news on New Jersey politics and policy.

>
New Jersey icon

New Jersey CEO Report

POLITICO New Jersey Pro's high-level outlook on the policy issues driving the month in New Jersey.

>
New Jersey Playbook logo

New Jersey Playbook

Matt Friedman's must-read briefing on the Garden State's important news of the day

>

POLITICO Pro

Trenton Brief

A morning email with must-read analysis and breaking news on New Jersey politics and policy.

>

POLITICO Pro

New Jersey Health Care Pro

Our morning email about New Jersey health care policy and politics

>

POLITICO PRO

New Jersey CEO Report

POLITICO New Jersey Pro’s high-level outlook on the policy issues driving the month in New Jersey.

>

POLITICO Pro

Documents

Original federal and state policy documents

Source : https://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2019/03/22/new-jersey-proposes-state-based-obamacare-exchange-929807

New Jersey proposes state-based Obamacare exchange
Murphy Announces State to Take Control of Obamacare Exchange
Murphy just said N.J. will go it alone to fend off Trump attacks on Obamacare and keep it alive here
The Health 202: Obamacare plans face lawsuits over erroneous doctor directories
Rep. Ayanna Pressley vows to protect Obamacare
Chief Justice John Roberts bargained with liberals over fate of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, new book claims
5 lessons for the Green New Deal ... from Obamacare
Book offers new details of Chief Justice Roberts's negotiation with liberal justices to save ObamaCare
The inside story of how John Roberts negotiated to save Obamacare
The Latest: Obamacare-protections bill revived in New Mexico