New Jersey Legislature Approves Individual Mandate Bill

Published April 29, 2018

The New Jersey Legislature approved a bill that would impose a financial penalty on individuals for choosing not to purchase government-approved health insurance.

The proposed law would charge individuals 2.5 percent of their annual adjusted gross income or $695, whichever is greater.

Assembly Bill 3380 was approved by the New Jersey Assembly and Senate on April 12 and sent to Gov. Phil Murphy for consideration.

Windfall for Insurance Companies

Twila Brase, president and cofounder of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News, says the proposed law would transfer wealth from individuals to insurance companies.

“New Jersey is shooting itself in the foot,” Brase said. “The mandate is unpopular across the entire political spectrum for a reason, and the individual mandate penalty is nothing more than a wage redistribution program,” Brase said. “Gov. Murphy and the New Jersey legislature are planning to take nearly $300 million from the pockets of hardworking New Jersey residents and federal taxpayers and redistribute it directly to health plans.”

‘It’s About Big Money’

Dr. Alieta Eck, a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, says the bill would do nothing to improve access to quality care.

“The goal seems to be keeping the hospitals and insurance companies well-funded, and not so much ensuring that each New Jerseyan has access to high-quality care,” Eck said. “The sad fact is that the ability of the people to get the medical care they need remains severely hampered, for the bureaucracy and administrators always get paid first, and physicians are being burned by low payments for their services.

“It’s about big money following big insurance companies and hospital systems,” Eck said. “It has nothing to do with actually delivering high-quality care to the people who need it the most.”