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NJ Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken Urges
Assembly Speaker Prieto to Hold the Line
and Not Post Senate Bill S-4 for Consideration

The NJ Chamber of Commerce staunchly opposes any interference with the daily operation of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey or the acquisition of any of its assets.

We are very disappointed that Senate Bill S-4 was voted out of committee yesterday. We were further disappointed by the votes of some who supported the bill.

The problem addressed does not require legislation. There are many other reasonable, ethical and viable solutions that have not even been considered.

We believe the victims of this legislation will far outnumber the proposed beneficiaries.

The ramifications of S-4 are so broad and far reaching that it must have a more thorough analysis of its impact. It should not be rushed through the legislature during the waning days of the state budget deliberations.

We believe a thorough analysis of this legislation would show a vast number of negative and unintended consequences resulting from its passage including:

  • the future financial viability of Horizon, the state's largest health insurer;

  • the impact on Horizon's 3.8 million policyholders which represent one-third of the state's population;

  • the criteria by which the Department of Banking and Insurance would be allowed to reach into other non-profits is ill-defined;

  • the impact on New Jersey's ability to attract and retain businesses in a state that desperately needs growth;

  • the impact on our state image and the free enterprise system functioning within the state.

The NJ Chamber realizes that by not passing this legislation there is the potential of a government shutdown.

The shutdown will be temporary. The negative impact of this legislation will be permanent.

It will cause businesses to shut down, jobs to be lost, significant economic distress and serve as a blow to our state's reputation as "business-friendly."

We believe the negative ramifications of this legislation could greatly impede any hope our state has of regaining a decent level of economic prosperity.

For these reasons we strongly urge Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to hold the line and not post this bill for consideration at this time.