New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has asked the New Jersey Legislature for permission to go into the reserves of the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to pay for his opiate reform plan.
There is only one problem. Christie is claiming such reserves are part of a government “surplus” but that is not the case. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield is a private, non-profit New Jersey healthcare insurance company and these reserves are used to protect the health of millions of New Jersey citizens, particularly in emergency medical situations.
Interestingly enough, his proposal comes on the heels of a meeting he had with President Donald Trump two weeks ago, where apparently there was a discussion about Christie heading up the Office of National Drug Control Policy when his term expires at the end of January, 2018:
President Donald Trump met with Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor and former Trump campaign surrogate, at the White House on Tuesday afternoon.
Trump and Christie, who were joined by Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, discussed how to best combat drug use over the lunch meeting, reports The North Jersey Record.
Christie has made New Jersey’s opioid crisis a top priority for the remaining months of his term as governor.
The White House meeting between Christie and Trump stoked speculation that Christie may be tapped as the new director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Christie’s term as New Jersey governor ends in January 2018.
While Christie’s intentions should be lauded, the idea of the government using private, non-profit funds to pay for a government program is not something I’d expect to see a Republican supporting.
Others are not thrilled with Christie’s idea. Here are statements from:
Steve Forbes – “While Governor Christie’s efforts to combat drug addiction has good intentions, his plan to raid the reserves used to protect the health of millions of New Jersey citizens for this purpose is not the right approach. When government steps in to the marketplace in this fashion, as we have seen in New York, higher taxes and increased consumer costs are sure to follow. Opiate abuse is a serious problem in our country and one sensible approach to addressing it is to engage New Jersey’s pharmaceutical companies. There are also many charitable organizations working to combat drug abuse that can engage. However, imposing a permanent tax increase on the back of New Jersey residents and patients is not only fiscally reckless, but sets an awful budget precedent.”
Ken Blackwell – “Governor Christie’s raid on policy holder premiums meant to pay for healthcare is a reckless proposal that will increase taxes, undermine the insurance market and put the healthcare of the citizens of New Jersey at great risk. All of New Jersey and anyone interested in good government and fiscal responsibility should oppose this irresponsible act of government overreach.”
Sorry Governor. It’s not a good idea.