While some might consider New Jersey’s health care environment highly-regulated, in reality, control over quality, staffing and the allocation of precious healthcare dollars is largely in the hands of individual hospitals, operating in a competitive environment, and accountable more to bondholders and private payers than to patients and the public. As a result, New Jersey residents’ access to safe and affordable health care is imperiled.
While hospitals are facing cuts in reimbursement levels, accountability for the millions of public dollars going to healthcare is sorely lacking. Possible conflicts of interest and self-dealing within hospital boards are largely unregulated, and have the potential to divert public dollars to private gain.
Although our health care system is based on employer-financed coverage, employers both large and small are turning their backs on their responsibility to provide health insurance for their workers. A majority of our uninsured adults and children are, in fact, members of working families. While New Jersey spends up to $1 billion on programs to provide care for the uninsured, these expenditures are no match for rising health care costs or federal budget cuts. When patients finally do access the system, they are sicker and require more care and attention.