Fulop rebukes ‘corruption tax,’ hospital monopolies, in N.J. health & human services plan


Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democratic candidate for governor, rebuked the “corruption tax” and hospital monopolies when discussing his New Jersey health and human services plan on a Zoom call this morning.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The reality is that there isn’t another candidate, or potential candidate, that has proposed any ideas or suggestions for New Jersey. The other candidates are just running around New Jersey and talking to party chairs saying ‘hey, I want to be governor,'” Fulop began on the media call.

He continued that this is “more robust and detailed than probably any campaign in the history of New Jersey,” noting that he has already released statewide proposals for transportation, housing, and public safety.

He noted that some of the concepts he proposed have been taken up by the legislature and/or Gov. Phil Murphy (D), pointing out that the Corporate Business Tax made it into the latest New Jersey budget.

“In NJ in many ways, people pay a corruption tax. The monopolies that have grown in New Jersey in the past decade … Those things need to change,” Fulop began when talking about health insurance premiums and hospital monopolies.

“Horizon and their army of lobbyists, and some of them overlap on government interests … Take a step back and you ask yourself: when Horizon moved away from their nonprofit status at warp speed, how did that happen and why did it happen and does that help people like you and me?”

Fulop was also critical of Horizon having the ability to negotiate directly with hospitals due to the overlap between politics, lobbying, and government, noting that everyday residents take the financial hit.

” … All of those things converge and it ends up being a corruption tax in many ways and healthcare is a big part of that. You need to unwind some of the overlapping businesses and how they work with various hospital systems,” he added.

” … The OMNIA program shouldn’t be Horizon setting the rates based on their relationships. They choose winners and losers here and that’s not good for patient outcomes, ultimately. I don’t think anyone in Trenton is doing a good job on that.”

Horizon spokesman Thomas Wilson said that the legislature and Murphy spent over four years working on a law that allowed them continue to provide affordable, convenient healthcare for their members.

He also noted that in Jersey City, Fulop has not switched their municipal healthcare provider since he took office in 2013.

“As New Jersey’s health solutions leader, we work closely with health systems, hospitals, doctors and other health professionals to improve our healthcare system and deliver for our members in a way that has earned Horizon the highest customer satisfaction scores of any carrier serving New Jersey,” Wilson told HCV.

“While we understand that candidates running for office often rely on simplistic hyperbole and exaggerated or baseless claims to attract votes, we value the relationship we developed over the past 11 years as the health partner chosen by Mayor Fulop to administer Jersey City’s health plan.”

During a question and answer session with reporters, Fulop was asked about the proposed Hudson Health System concept: which would see CarePoint Health team up with their old rivals at Hudson Regional Hospital.

“Hudson Health System would be solely based in Hudson County. You are now seeing hospital systems that are four, five, six counties large … who are also aggressively acquiring private practices. Vertical integration, without competition and without patient choice, impacts patient outcomes,” Fulop asserted.

The HHS proposal remains up in the air, given that such an endeavor would require approval from the New Jersey Department of Health, and around the same time, a financial monitor was appointed to CarePoint’s three hospitals.

“The Hudson Health System proposal was one of two potential options on the table. There is a real impact to day-to-day healthcare in Hudson County if that is not resolved. And that is something that i think the governor’s office needs to push and move forward aggressively. It’s at the point that vendors do not get supplies in a timely way and that’s bad for patients across the board.”

Fulop further stated that the second option involved CarePoint teaming up with a healthcare provider from Chicago, adding that he was unfamiliar with most of the details.

Still, he indicated something was better than nothing if it meant keeping the Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital, and the Hoboken University Medical Center open.

“If they close a hospital, even temporarily, it’s very difficult to reopen. If Christ were to close, that would be devastating for Jersey City. Knowing that CarePoint is so financially drained, we need a solution that fosters competition in Hudson County,” he said on the call.

“Ask yourself is it in the patient best interest to have hospital monopolies that also own the private practices now and control ‘leakage’ of referrals. Is that best for the patient? How does reimbursement rates fluctuate from winners/losers based on who the monopolies choose? Is that good for patient care?” he added on social media this morning.

Fulop also cited several initiatives in Jersey City he’d like to expand upon statewide, such as creating a Division of Food and Nutrition to focus on reducing hunger and food insecurity – as well as promoting a healthy diet – completely the new St. Lucy’s homeless shelter, as well as prison re-entry, senior affairs, veterans services, and women’s health.

“We’ve expanded beyond the state’s mandated paid family leave program … Expanding from 12 weeks to 24 weeks and from 85 percent pay to 100 percent,” Fulop said, also pointing out that Jersey City has subsidies exist prior to the birth of a child, not after.

Additionally, the three-term Jersey City mayor emphasized capping the cost of childcare at $10 per day for families with income less than $150,000, ensuring access to reproductive healthcare regardless of financial status, improving senior care by consolidating the medicaid eligibility system, supporting the facility-based long-term care sector, along with
mental health, harm reduction, and support for people with disabilities.

“While New Jersey is still a great place to raise a family, for too many residents the high cost of living and the lack of support from state government can make it seem impossible to make ends meet while raising children or taking care of elderly or disabled family members — our Health and Human Services plan is designed to change that,” Fulop said in a statement released shortly after the call ended.


Editor’s note: This story was updated on Wednesday with a comment from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesman Thomas Wilson.

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  1. Steve stop the bs !!
    Remember those that put you where, you are today ?? And it wasn’t these new Yorkers.who you building for. We campaign for you from committee person, etc.. on GlenCunnigham ballots. How we.forget those that put us where we are??? Oh but ward F-10 dosent forget and Muhammad,Struthers and myself. I have proof and more.!! Don’t forget those from 2000 ..