Speaker Prieto released the following statement on the deal reached with Senator Sweeney and Governor Christie tonight to pass the budget and end the government shutdown:
“I stood my ground for good reason – we must always put the people of New Jersey first. With this agreement, we have done exactly that.
“We are protecting ratepayers in this time of great health care uncertainty. We are protecting progressive budget priorities important to working families. We are bringing more transparency to our largest health insurer, and doing it effectively, based on what we’ve seen work in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
“A key step forward was the input I sought from Horizon, which is a key player in our state’s health care universe, like it or not. This agreement protects Horizon’s ratepayers from unreasonable last-insurer-of-resort demands and ensures excess reserves go to either ratepayers or to reduced premiums. Horizon ratepayers – a significant part of our state’s population – will not be unfairly taxed, as previous plans allowed.
“Our focus needs to be on quality health care for all residents, not creating conflict. Hopefully now we will put the focus on quality health care in this time of great national uncertainty.
“These were my goals, and I’m more than pleased to see this come to fruition.
“Insisting upon good public policy is seldom simple and rarely easy. We worked hard and moved this bill away from the governor’s proposal and the bill approved by the Senate. This agreement is sound public policy that is a win for everyone.”