Minor Thoughts from me to you

Archives for New Jersey (page 1 / 1)

School Budget Smackdown in New Jersey

A revolt grows in Jersey - NYPOST.com

New Jersey voters just sent another loud reminder of their disgust with out-of-control taxes.

Of 537 school budgets up for a vote in the Garden State, 315 -- a whopping 59 percent -- went down in flames Tuesday.

That's more than the state's seen in decades.

Why so many rejections?

Because some 80 percent of those budgets sought property-tax hikes.

As if Jersey isn't already a national leader in property taxes.

As if ObamaCare, the stimulus and Washington's trillion-dollar deficits hadn't sent actual taxpayers into a lather.

Homeowners, in particular, have had enough.

Median tax bills in six Garden State counties are among the 10 highest in all of America. As a share of income, levies in Passaic and Essex lead the nation -- with Bergen, Union, Hunterdon and Hudson not far behind.

School boards -- and teachers unions that refused concessions -- must have been dreaming if they thought voters would rubber-stamp tax hikes yet again.

No, this time taxpayers were paying . . . attention.

Fact is, last November's election of Republican Gov. Chris Christie in Democratic New Jersey was no fluke.


Senate Bill Will Increase Healthcare Premiums

At the request of BlueCross BlueShield, Oliver Wyman did a study of the Senate health care bill. Unsurprisingly, this study estimates that the bill will cost consumers quite a bit more than the CBO estimated.

John Goodman summarized the findings this way:

Premiums for individuals and families purchasing coverage on their own will go up 54%. Premiums for small businesses will go up 20%. Both numbers are over 5 years and both numbers exclude the impact of medical inflation.

I skimmed through the study and it looks pretty interesting. The study points out that reform won't work unless everyone is forced to purchase insurance.

The key implication of our analysis is simple: For these types of insurance reforms to be successful and sustainable, it is imperative to get broad participation. Young and healthy people need to be part of the insurance pool, and people cannot defer buying insurance until they are sick or at high risk. This is true no matter who is paying the premiums--individuals, employers, or the government.

The study then goes on to indicate that the current bill likely will allow people to free-ride, with bad results. They're basing their conclusions on several states' experiments with healthcare reform.

  • New York and Vermont: Average premiums in the individual market today are about 60% higher than the national average

  • New Jersey: Reform caused much higher premiums forcing thousands of individuals to drop coverage. The individual market decreased from 157,000 people in 1993 to 88,000 in 2007

  • Maine: Individual market enrollment in Maine dropped from 90,000 to 41,000 between 1993 and 2007 following the state's reforms.

Even in Massachusetts, there is evidence that individuals are selectively jumping in and out of the market when they need healthcare. Data from health insurers in Massachusetts indicate that the number of peopl ein the individual market with coverage of less than 12 months has doubled post reform. These individuals have a significantly higher claims to premium ration when compared to those who had coverage for more than 12 months but let it lapse or those that are active.

Without strong penalties, similar types of behavior are likely to emerge in the reformed individual market--resulting in significantly higher premiums for the insured.

This is one of the reasons why I believe that the "reform" bills will just make American healthcare worse than it already is.