Statement of HPAE President Ann Twomey: “Once again, instead of focusing on repairing our economy and creating jobs, on lifting minimum wage workers out of poverty, and instead of making sure that all our residents have access to quality health care in our communities, Governor Christie has used his budget address to blame public servants for New Jersey’s budget woes and for our failure to keep pace with other states’ economic recovery.
Nurses, medical researchers and other health professionals working in NJ’s public Universities, public health programs, clinics, mental health programs, nursing homes, prisons and schools provide vital services and devote their working lives to the health needs of NJ residents. Their retirement security and health coverage are not entitlements, but are hard-earned and essential to their well-being, and that of their families.
Making sure that the health professionals who spend their lives in public service have security in their own retirement, and health coverage for their own medical needs is not just fair, it is sound public policy.
Ironically, coming only days after Governor Christie deliberately gave up more than $7 million in funds to help uninsured residents gain health coverage, Governor Christie’s budget address was sorely lacking in health care initiatives.
At a time of major health care changes, NJ residents need and deserve more oversight and protection from abuses by an increasing number of for-profit companies taking over community hospitals. Instead, the Christie administration has become less transparent, less accountable, and seemingly less concerned with protecting access to affordable, quality health care for our residents.
As nurses and health professionals, we intend to continue advocating for a Department of Health that works for patients first.