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State of New Jersey
Executive Order #97

Governor Christine Todd Whitman

This executive order repeals EO #92 Whitman.

WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey has a compelling interest in ensuring that health care is accessible and affordable for all its citizens; and

WHEREAS, access to quality health care is vital both to the well-being of individual citizens of the State of New Jersey and to the public health at large; and

WHEREAS, I recently issued Executive Order 92 creating the Task Force on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits that is charged with studying how to strike an appropriate balance between the mandated benefits that State law requires insurers to provide to its insureds and permitting insurers the flexibility to structure their policies in a cost efficient manner to maximize resources available for the delivery of quality health care and minimize the costs thereof; and

WHEREAS, the issue of financial stability of hospital based health care in New Jersey also is being studied by the Advisory Commission on Hospitals in conjunction with various divisions of departments in the Executive Branch of State government; and

WHEREAS, the public interest will be best served by taking note of the findings of the Advisory Commission on Hospitals and combining the efforts of the Task Force on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits and various State agencies, divisions and departments to minimize duplication and to ensure that this issue is studied as comprehensively as possible; and

WHEREAS, a comprehensive, coordinated review of the affordability and accessibility of health insurance in New Jersey will benefit all the citizens of New Jersey;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. There is hereby created The Task Force on the Affordability and Accessibility of Health Care in New Jersey. The Task Force shall consist of twenty-five (25) members as follows:

a. The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance and the Commissioner of Human Services, or their designees, shall serve as ex officio members of the Task Force.

b. The Governor shall appoint the following fifteen (15) members of the Task Force: one (1) member representing the State's commercial health insurance industry; one (1) representative from a health maintenance organization; one (1) representative from the New Jersey Business and Industry Association; one (1) representative from the State Chamber of Commerce; two (2) members representing hospitals; one (1) member representing health providers other than hospitals licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services; one (1) member representing physicians; one (1) member representing nurses; one (1) representative of small business, defined as a business with between two and fifty employees; two (2) Chief Executive Officers or their representatives from corporations that are among the State's twenty-five largest employers; one (1) member representing the interests of organized labor; one (1) member representing the interests of consumers; and one (1) member representing the pharmaceutical industry.

c. The Task Force shall include seven additional members. One (1) of the members shall be appointed by the Governor. Three (3) of the members shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, two (2) of whom shall be State Senators not of the same political party. Three (3) of the members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, two (2) of whom shall be Assemblymembers not of the same political party.

2. The Governor shall designate a chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Task Force from among the foregoing members.

3. The Task Force shall:

a. Compare the affordability and accessibility of health insurance in New Jersey with the affordability and accessibility of health insurance in other states;

b. Identify cost and access factors that can be controlled or addressed by State legislation or regulation;

c. Assess the impact on the quality of health care and the cost of health insurance from mandated health benefits currently required by State law and regulations;

d. Assess the anticipated health benefits and estimated costs resulting from pending legislative efforts to impose additional mandated benefits;

e. Take note of the findings and recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Hospitals concerning the stability and efficiency of New Jersey's health care delivery system and its impact on the affordability of health insurance;

f. Evaluate the amount that employees contribute to the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage through co-payments, contributions toward premiums or other forms of cost sharing;

g. Consult with the Health Wellness Promotion Advisory Board in the Department of Health and Senior Services, which is charged with reviewing medical testing and services that will encourage health care consumers to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors; and

h. Provide recommendations concerning steps that need to be taken to ensure that health care is affordable and accessible to the citizens of New Jersey.

4. The Task Force shall periodically issue reports presenting its findings and recommendations to the Governor at such times as may be determined by the Chairperson of the Task Force.

5. The Task Force is authorized to call upon any department, office or agency of State government to provide such information, resources or other assistance deemed necessary to discharge its responsibilities under this Order. Each department, office, or division and agency of the State is hereby directed, to the extent not inconsistent with law and within budgetary constraints, to cooperate with the Task Force to furnish it with such information, personnel and assistance as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order.

6. The Task Force shall hold at least two (2) public hearings as it discharges its responsibilities under this Order.

7. This Order shall take effect immediately.

8. Executive Order No. 92 is hereby repealed and its directives are hereby incorporated into this Executive Order.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal
this 20th day of July in the Year
of Our Lord, One Thousand Nine
Hundred and Ninety-Nine and of
the Independence of the United States,
the Two Hundred and Twenty-Fourth.

/s/ Christine Todd Whitman
Governor

[seal]

Attest:

/s/ Richard S. Mroz
Chief Counsel to the Governor

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