Shutdown Chip

New Jersey has stopped providing nonessential services (which actually sounds like an admirable policy goal) with some of us adjusting better than others:
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The bottom line is that Governor Christie insists on seeing two bills (both of which passed the Senate on Thursday) before acting on the FY18 budget bill:

  1. S3312 the pension/lottery gimmick – passed the Senate (36-2)
  2. S4  the Horizon shakedown – passed the Senate (21-15)

S3312 is a sham reform that should do nothing more than convince the uninitiated that the state is as bankrupt of ideas as integrity when dealing with the worst funded pension system in the country. Both sides would gladly toss that chip in to get their way on S4 and here’s why:

The OLS notes that currently the only health service corporation operating in New Jersey is Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. According to the Department of Banking and Insurance, in CY2016, Horizon had a $2.4 billion surplus. The department indicated that Horizon’s statutory surplus minimum in the same calendar year was $624.3 million.

That is quite a bit of money that can wind up, through the Escherist mechanism that is the state campaign finance system, either (a) supporting a spate of favored candidates or (b) getting Chris Christie a job as WFAN gets an anchor sponsor to allow it to go bigger (in both weight and smugness) in drive time. Mark Chernoff at WFAN said he hopes to have a succession plan in place by Labor Day which could coincide with Christie’s plan to have a budget in place so he can finally get the hell off his beach:

39 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    One thing, I think and hope, we can all agree on – politicians are all out for their (and theirs) own, varying, self interests.

    P&B time bomb aside, generally speaking, health care and higher education have and continue to outpace inflation in multiples!

    Not taking a position on this particular legislation; why should a health insurance company, especially a nonprofit, pay their executives such lucrative salaries and build up exorbahent reserves?

    Please no blanket free market statements! We all know there’s really not much choice when it comes to affordable health insurance, including Obamacare or Trump care.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      What qualifications do you have (or what have you read from someone WITH such qualifications…. such a an actuary with substantive experience in the valuation of health insurance products) to state that BC-Horizon’s reserves are “exorbitant” ?

      Reply

      • Posted by bpaterson on July 7, 2017 at 12:37 pm

        simply can’t believe anyone these days- professionals, politicians, pundits, newscasters and anonymous people, they all have agendas. (except for
        me!)

        Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Gov, Christie has ZERO business sticking his nose into the determination of what constitutes an appropriate level of Insurance company reserves or surplus. He won’t/can’t raise taxes so he trying to obtain the money by extorting it from BC-Horizon.

    While I simply cannot stand Prieto ……… becasue he stinks so bad from kissing the Public Sector Unions’ asses for so long ……….. in this instance, he is correct to NOT allow the taking of BC-Horizon’s reserves/surplus.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Anyone posting here and elsewhere in anonimity can’t substantiate their credentials only provide source link data. Anyone with a functioning brain knows health care premiums have skyrocketed post and pre Obamacare with providers (institutions and practitioners) crying the blues. Go figure, guess your special interest might be in play!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    For the want of a billionaire …over 3 years Dave Tepper paid more than 500 million in state taxes …considering Tepper also moved his fund and employees ,perhaps the greed of the state put itself in this rabbit hole and will continue to do so … raising taxes has dire consequences …

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Guess these gimokes didn’t get the memo OR their self interests are better served remaining NJ residents!

      http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2017/03/six_new_jersey_residents_named_to_forbes_billionai.html

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      “greed of the State” ???? What ????????

      The Tax rates are so high to feed the Public Sector pension/benefit MONSTER.

      The GREED …. sources back to the Public Sector WORKERS, who are the beneficiaries of these ludicrously excessive pension/benefit promises.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      “The Tax rates are so high to feed the Public Sector pension/benefit MONSTER.”
      ???

      Except they been takin’ the taxes and NOT FEEDIN’ the so-called “MONSTER”.

      http://pension360.org/chart-a-history-of-new-jerseys-pension-payments/

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm

        THANK GOODNESS NJ has been far less successful in getting it’s taxpayer to fully fund the grossly excessive Public Sector pension promises in place today.

        The roughly 40% funded status would be a 100% funded status of a Plan with pension benefits 40% as generous as they are now. And with NJ’s Public Sector pensions MORE THAN 2.5 times (4+ times for Police) greater in value upon retirement than those typically granted COMPARABLE Private Sector workers, NJ’s Taxpayers have ALREADY FULLY FUNDED a pension with a benefit level equal to that granted it’s Taxpayers.

        They “deserve” no more.

        They just “bought” more from NJ’s Elected Officials with Public Sector Union BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions and election support.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm

          Stutter step, change of pace, behind your back, and in your face – Insurance mogul…..

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 7:43 pm

            That which CAN’T be paid, WON’T be paid …….. i.e., you pension & benefits.

            You would be wise to develop a “Plan B” for your retirement needs.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2017 at 7:56 pm

            Double technical on a flagrant, you know what that means – BYE.

            BTW, no shutdown for retiree’s…..

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 7:31 am

            I’m skipping plan B and will exercise plan E, Exit stage left

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm

            If you’re counting on a NJ Public Sector pension, leaving NJ won’t help. At some point the “Checks” or “Direct Deposit” will become IOUs..

            Do they cash “IOUs” in Florida ?

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

            You don’t get it, I’m talking another country with lower cost of living, especially healthcare and I’ll do it w/o anything from NJ or this Country!

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm

            Try Venezuela

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm

            Thanks for the suggestion but you can go there, I’ve got much better options – enjoy your time in the Garden!

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 6:03 pm

            LOL ….. I just came in from the “garden”.

            With all the rain, the flowers are GORGEOUS !

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm

            I so glad for you, hope it wasn’t too TAXING!

  5. Posted by jerseygirl on July 3, 2017 at 10:53 am

    once again as a life long dem. I am discussed with southern nj dems who constantly go hand and hand with Christie because norcross and Christie connection when norcross was not investigated by Christie for favors. ameri health owned by norcross, Sweeney has to go.
    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/07/state_government_shutdown_how_did_we_get_here.html

    Reply

  6. Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Supposedly the impass is over ~1% of the total budget – infantile! Just short the pension contribution by $300m, State rarely pays what they appropriate anyway. If and when the Horizon BS is resolved restore the pension appropriation and, as usual, don’t pay it.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      IF (a big IF) BC-Horizon has reserves/surplus greater than a thorough (non-political) examination indicates is reasonable (on the high end of reasonable), any excess should be returned to those who paid premiums to BC-Horizon.

      There is no justification to divert it to other uses, including worthwhile charities.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm

        The State and maybe Local governments are the largest single subscriber and premium payer to Horizon and as such would receive the largest refund. I nor do you, unless your an insider, have any idea as to the amount. Governments Fed, State, etc., usually Insurance Depts have always regulated the industry. Self regulation would result in continued private sector collusion – your preferred method!

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 3:05 pm

          Who’s calling for self-regulation (not me).

          And FYI, Insurance Companies are regulated by State Govt’s, not the Federal Gov’t.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm

            And FYI, Obamacare changed that, to some degree, at least for health insurance companies.

  7. Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Self interest such a nasty thing unless it’s yours; then the undeniable justifications never end!

    Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on July 4, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Oregon to cut double coverage of public health care, NJ did this around a decade ago. Yet their pension funds are in better shape than NJ’s and with lower taxes. NJ’s taxpaying public workers have been duped!

    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/07/lawmakers_eye_double_health_co.html

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      No, actually it Oregon and the other states’ taxpayers who have been “duped” to a greater extent……………

      Taxpayers SHOULD fund to a pension EQUAL TO (but no greater) than that typically granted Private Sector workers, and with NJ’s Public Sector pensions routinely 2.5 times (4+ times for safety workers) greater in value upon retirement than those typically granted COMPARABLE Private Sector workers, the dollar amount of actual NJ Taxpayer contributions yielding the current 40% “funding ratio” of the grossly excessive pensions actually promised, equates to a 100% “funding ratio” for a Pension EQUAL to what NJ’s Private Sector taxpayers typically get from their employers.

      so, NJ’s taxpayers HAVE (YES, they HAVE) contributed a FAIR amount towards it’s Public Sector Pensions Plans.

      Of course that amount is far short of the amount necessary to fully funding the grossly excessive promises that the Public Sector Unions have BOUGHT form our Elected Officials with BRIBES disguised as campaign contribution and election support.

      Good. They deserve EQUAL, but NOT better ………on the taxpayers’ dime.

      Bottom line ……… NJ’s taxpayers have been successful in being LESS SUCKERED to contribute MORE than a fair amount towards their Public Sector workers’ pensions.

      Reply

  9. Posted by Anonymous on July 4, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Guess the public’s will rethink retiring to Florida and consider Hawaii after the Lottery deal – LOL!

    Reply

  10. Why is his wife always laughing. Looking like she just stole $30 million.

    Reply

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