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Murphy Administration Takes No Action to Protect State Workers from 24% Increase in their Healthcare Insurance costs

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood  NJ, Senator Michael Testa today joined with hundreds of state and local employees in criticizing the Murphy Administration for their inaction to protect workers from as much as a 24% increase in their healthcare insurance costs. The State Health Benefits Commission is scheduled to hold a vote on the plan on Wednesday.

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“The fact that these premiums are rising so quickly now is proof that the Murphy Administration was artificially tamping down the actual costs of health care while hoodwinking both taxpayers and workers,” said Testa (R-Vineland). “Private sector businesses had to deal with cost increases as they came, but the Governor chose to delay this hit on workers and taxpayers until a time of his choice. It’s bad planning made worse by bad faith.”

Premium rates for state and local employers and members participating in the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) and the School Employees Health Benefits Plan (SEHBP) likely will increase by 12% to 22%, depending on the selected plan according to the state Division of Pension & Benefits.

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The proposed hikes have drawn criticism from both sides of the political aisle and has also incensed union leaders and rank and file workers demanding that Gov. Phil Murphy halt or reduce the likely price hike.

When news leaked of the potential premium hike, elected officials from both parties united to demand the state health board to reject the proposal or that state Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio to use her authority to block the planned approval.

In 2019, the Governor and Treasurer announced to great fanfare a new health care plan which would lower costs and rein in property taxes. They further noted that the new arrangement was “anticipated to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars” and result in savings for local governments in the form of decreasing premium rates.

“Here we are, now nearly a year after the election and now premiums are going up in direct contradiction to the Governor’s predictions. It’s awful to imagine that this effort was likely all a politically driven charade designed to help his reelection efforts,” said Testa. “However, whether it’s the issue of the state’s debt explosionunauthorized checks to illegal immigrants, or nearly $100 million in pork projects for the favored few, anything is possible in Phil Murphy’s fiscal funhouse.”

When the proposed hikes came out in late July, Gov. Murphy responded to the news by telling reporters that the hikes were “largely formulaic” and that he and the Administration would continue to work with stakeholders to address the concerns.  Nearly eight weeks later, the lack of action by the Administration has caused state and local employees to rally against the plan.

Republican leadership in the state Legislature have called for the creation of a special legislative committee to investigate failures by the Murphy administration that they say led to the premium increases.

“We should hold hearings into why this situation has so thoroughly unraveled under the Governor’s watch including the possibility that political ambition played a role,” said Testa. “People deserve action and answers, and they deserve the truth from the Governor, not just more spin and deflection.”

 

5 thoughts on “Murphy Administration Takes No Action to Protect State Workers from 24% Increase in their Healthcare Insurance costs

  1. Who do we feel sorry for? The employees who have enjoyed white glove benefits for pennies? Or the rest of us who have had to struggle to make these payments for decades? Yes, decades. So I guess there will not be any extra money in the household budget. They they can’t have a vacation home or sport car anymore, like the rest of us. HA!

    BTW, another one of “Murphy’s Promises”. Expect a robo-call from Scott Gottheimer.

    1. “Expect a robo-call from Scott Gottheimer.”

      Josh.

      Makes him appear “regular” and poor.

      The rich and stupid got rid of Scott…………………..

      1. My bad, Josh. Same, same.

    2. For people who are ignorant of (or intentionally ignore the basics of) economics and how corrupt political machines work, life is mysterious and frightening. This includes most public sector workers, who think they “earned” the above-market cost benefits they enjoy. Well, newsflash, they didn’t earn them. They were awarded them in non-arms length “negotiations” with politicians who sat on the same side of the bargaining table and passed the cost to the taxpayer, who wasn’t invited to the negotiation. In exchange, they agreed to vote Dem in every election in perpetuity. Murphy just doesn’t need them now until 2025.

    3. Just FYI, State and Local Employees still do not pay the entire insurance bill. They typically pay a percentage of the total bill, and the percentage is anywhere from a high of 40% to a low of 3%. So guess who’s paying the rest ??? The town/county/state will pay the remainder of the 24% increase (well over 50% of it), which will be covered by an increase in your taxes.

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