I am one of Hudson County’s 29,043 unemployed. When I lost my job in 2009, I kept my health insurance only through Obama’s COBRA subsidy program. Since that program expired last year, however, I have had no health insurance. Living with a heart condition, I know that every day without insurance is a gamble for me. Insurance coverage directly correlates to better health, and Hudson County is one of the least healthiest counties the state, in part, because of a higher-than-average number of uninsured adults. I do not qualify for Medicaid, and my search for affordable private insurance has been to no avail. No insurance plan I have found has reasonable rates or adequate coverage. One thing I learned in my search for affordable insurance did give me hope: the Federal Health Reform Law calls for all states to set up a Health Insurance Exchange a new marketplace that will allow people to buy health insurance more easily and cheaply, with subsidies to make insurance more affordable. In Trenton, legislators are trying to fix our broken insurance system by setting up an Exchange that works for New Jersey. We desperately need an exchange for ordinary people to be able to group together to negotiate better rates from health insurance companies. No one should have to go without health insurance, especially in the third richest state in the country.
New Jersey needs to do what’s right and set up an exchange that can benefit all residents. I urge your readers to contact their legislators and ask them to support the creation of a Health Insurance Exchange.