22 10 2009

The Corzine administration and Democrat leadership that claim to care for New Jersey health care system has failed New Jersey hospitals.

A total of 15 acute-care hospitals have closed around the state since 1997, including 11 in the northeastern counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association.  Among the most recent are Barnert Hospital in Paterson, Pascack Valley in Westwood and Union Hospital. We have witnessed dramatic fall of Passaic hospitals with the last of the three in bankruptcy proceedings this year.

All of this happened under years of Democrat rule in New Jersey.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a national foundation committed to sound health policy, ranks New Jersey 50th — second lowest in the nation — in terms of healthcare expenditures to hospitals. And Public Citizen, a national consumer watchdog group, ranked New Jersey’s Medicaid program 39th out of the 50 states, largely due to its poor reimbursement to providers. New Jersey, in fact, ranked dead last in reimbursement, according to the Public Citizen analysis. Other groups have witnessed New Jersey’s difficulties and responded. Standard & Poor’s, a major Wall Street ratings group, has downgraded the credit rating of many New Jersey hospitals and predicts that the state will experience additional hospital closures due to its harsh marketplace.

Major problem causing hospital closing is not enough funding for charity care. Presently, all hospitals receive at least 50 cents back for every $1 of charity care they provide. Those “safety net” hospitals that serve most of New Jersey’s uninsured population must receive at least 96 cents to ensure their ability to continue serving patients. We estimate that at least 50 percent of the charity care is used by illegal aliens using the emergency rooms in our hospitals.

As a result the unfunded mandates on hospitals effectively ask them to provide uninsured individuals with the catastrophic health insurance they are free not to procure, at the expense of insured patients and, in the case of investor-owned hospitals, of shareholders as well.

In 1995, New Jersey had 112 acute care hospitals. As of 2008, there were 75 hospitals remaining with half of them losing money. Read the rest of this entry »


Corzine: Possible Gas Tax Hike, On The Way

13 10 2009

jhon corzineTrenton-Governor Corzine said Monday he’ll consider raising the state’s gas tax during a second term or diverting money from other programs to keep the fund that pays for transportation projects afloat.

The second option, however, would force the state find the money for road and mass transit projects that cost billions of dollars all while it tries to deal with a budget that could be as much as $8 billion short next year, Corzine said.

“I’m more than happy to do either one of them, not because I like doing it, but because it’s going to be necessary,” Corzine said during a meeting with The Record’s editorial board.

The governor’s position marks a change from statements he made last year when he called raising the 14.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax “a very, very last resort.” The tax rate is the fourth lowest in the nation.

Corzine, however, faces a tough re-election fight as he considers ways of replenishing New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund, which could run out of money by mid-2011.

At that point, the toll and gas tax revenue that pays for the program will be required to pay the interest on previously borrowed money.

The Corzine administration borrowed $6 billion in 2006 to extend the trust fund for five years. But the governor and his leading campaign opponents, Chris Christie and Chris Daggett, have been cool to the idea of borrowing more.

The trust fund will help pay for an $8.7 billion commuter rail tunnel to New York City and widening the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, which will cost more than $2 billion.

Christie has said he prefers a pay-as-you-go approach to the fund, while Daggett said he would also consider hiking the gas tax, and possibly establishing new toll roads.

Corzine said whatever decision he makes may be “unpopular” now, but will prove to be the right decision.

“Fifty years from now, when the trains are going under the Hudson River, people will say somebody was willing to make an unpopular decision to do something,” he said.

Corzine discussed the looming trust fund headache along with several other problems Monday, including high property taxes and a possible $8 billion budget deficit in 2010.

Corzine identified funding at-risk preschool education and other education needs, along with health care programs, as priorities.

But the governor said his best argument for reelection is that he has the “knowhow” to get New Jersey out of the recession faster, and with less damage, than his opponents.

“I can’t roll back the realities of how we got here in an economic recession, but I think we’ve taken more aggressive steps to make it shallower and prepare ourselves to exit,” Corzine said. “And I think I’ve demonstrated I’m prepared to take on tough problems even though that makes you unpopular, but fundamental challenges that have been longstanding in New Jersey are getting addressed and I will continue to do that.

(News Source: North

NY/NJ Port Authority workers get free E-ZPass

12 08 2008

TRENTON, N.J. -New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s office on Monday repeated calls for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to discontinue giving free E-ZPass tags to employees and retirees.

“The governor thinks this is an inappropriate practice, that E-ZPass should be used for business purposes. This is something that should be corrected,” said Corzine spokesman Jim Gardner.
Nearly 7,600 Port Authority employees and retirees have free E-ZPass tags for all trips across Hudson River and Staten Island crossings operated by the agency.
The perk was disclosed in The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark, which reported that the benefit cost the Port Authority roughly $1 million over the last year.