Are NJ elected officials protecting us against runaway health insurance costs?

AN OFFICER’S VIEW: I’m a public employee, and I’m not against paying a percentage of my health insurance premium.  While I let the “shock and awe” of that statement settle in, I would like everyone to consider the actual issue with health insurance in this state and our country.  It’s the question no one in any elected office seems brave enough to ask:

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Why is health insurance so damn expensive?

Sgt. Vincent Kearney

Why do health insurance companies get to raise rates every year, with no regard to the people paying the bills?

How is it that Horizon, the provider of the NJ State Health Benefits Plan, has raised the rates on that plan an AVERAGE of 8-12 percent over the last several years, with no protest from either the Governor or the Legislature, while turning huge profits?

Perhaps our legislators, who receive free health benefits for life after one full term in office (still free under the current proposed “reform”), lack the proper motivation to tackle this issue, given that they don’t have a horse in the race.

They can sit back, enjoy free benefits for their families, and watch others sacrifice for the common good while not risking campaign donations from health insurance companies.

I think the two questions we should be asking our finger-pointing governor and other state representatives are:

When do they intend to pay for their own health insurance, and what do they intend to do about the fat cat health insurance companies screwing us with double digit rate hikes while their profits soar on a yearly basis?

That’s right: I’m calling out the governor, the Legislature, and our members of Congress. New Jersey needs REAL leadership and SACRIFICE from YOU on this issue. Otherwise, we will never escape the vicious cycle of taxes and service cuts we now find ourselves in, no matter how many times you manage to distract us with an attack on public employees or cries about the state having no money. 

We need someone to stand up for all workers, public and private, the way Theodore Roosevelt did against the “robber barons” of his day.  Someone to protect all the “little guys” out there like he did.  Even if they DO happen to work in the public sector.

Most of us aren’t political appointees making six figures. The percentage of the premium I and my fellow public workers are going to pay will hurt most of us. It’s money we were counting on that isn’t going to be there.

I understand that “times are tough” and we need to “share the pain,” but let’s address the core issue and honor that sacrifice by regulating these robber-baron health insurance companies before we — the public servants who protect everyone else — end up living in Hoovervilles.

Sgt. Vincent Kearney, 34, has worked in law enforcement in New Jersey since 2003.


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