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Chrissy Buteas

Chrissy Buteas, Chief Government Affairs Officer

Last week, NJBIAs Health Affairs Policy Committee met with special guests Andrea Katz, Chief of Staff at the Department of Human Services;, Andrea Martinez-Mejia, Chief of Staff at the Department of Health; and Justin Zimmerman, Chief of Staff at the Department of Banking and Insurance. During the meeting, NJBIA stressed that our members seek high quality, cost-effective healthcare to provide to their employees. The following updates were provided by each department representative.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services announced a wage increase of $36 million for professionals who care for individuals with developmental disabilities. Additionally, the department announced the Murphy administration is increasing child-care subsidies for needy New Jersey parents by $54 million this year. The department is focused on expanding access to behavioral health and opioid addiction treatment services.

Furthermore, the Commissioner is dedicated to addressing the disparities in maternal and child health as the state is ranked near last with respect to deaths.

The Department of Banking and Insurance is focused on consumer protection. Priorities include the implementation of the healthcare reinsurance program in the individual market. According to DOBI, the combination of the state’s reinsurance program and the individual mandate has led to a decrease in rates. The department is also in the process of establishing New Jersey’s State-Based Exchange on the Federal Platform for plan year 2020. This will allow the state to transition to a State-Based Exchange for plan year 2021, while providing outreach and assistance for the upcoming open enrollment period beginning on Nov. 1. An overview of the State-Based Exchange can be found here.

The Department of Health is now under the leadership of a new acting commissioner, Judith M. Persichilli, who is focusing on the impact of lead exposure in children and adults, as well as ways to address maternal mortality. She is also focused on reducing the cost of healthcare. With respect to the medical marijuana program, the DOH will transfer responsibilities for the program over to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which is in, but not of, Department of the Treasury.

During the meeting, attendees stressed the need to expedite the timeframe for the issuance of regulations, such as those that would allow healthcare facilities to dispose of opioids, by various departments.

Our next policy committee will be held on Friday, November 1. Please click here to register.

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