…AND ESCAPE FROM NEW JERSEY
May 29, 2008
New Jersey is about the last place one might think to look for free-market policy reform. But this week Jay Webber, a Republican Assemblyman in Trenton, will introduce legislation to let Garden State residents buy low-cost health insurance from any registered policy in any of the 50 states.
Webber's proposal is a state version of Arizona Congressman John Shadegg's federal legislation to let individuals buy insurance across state lines, and John McCain has also endorsed the idea. But New Jersey would be a perfect test case, because its multiple mandates have made insurance too expensive for hundreds of thousands of families, says the Wall Street Journal:
- The average national cost for a family health plan is $5,799, according to America's Health Insurance Plans.
- In New Jersey that same plan costs $10,398 on average.
- Some 1.2 million people in New Jersey -- or one out of every eight residents -- is uninsured.
Under Webber's proposal, New Jersey residents could buy policies chartered in more enlightened states, says the Journal.
- For example, a healthy 25-year-old male could buy a basic health plan in Kentucky that now sells for $960 a year, about one-sixth of the $5,880 it would cost him in New Jersey.
- Residents of Pennsylvania pay health premiums that are one-half to one-third as high as do Garden State policy-holders.
- A new study by the National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that the availability of lower cost plans would reduce the number of uninsured by 25 percent.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Trenton are rallying behind a plan to add a $1.7 billion health subsidy to their state, which is already so broke its politicians are contemplating mortgaging its highways, says the Journal.
The Webber proposal offers lower costs and more choices for consumers, while the Democratic plan mandates public coverage and no choice, while putting a new burden on taxpayers, says the Journal.
Source: Editorial, "…And Escape From New Jersey," Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2008.
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