N.J. lawmakers try again on health insurance exchange

As New Jersey faces a Nov. 16 deadline to create its own insurance exchange to comply with the federal health care overhaul, lawmakers are trying to enact a measure that will be acceptable to Gov. Chris Christie.

The governor vetoed a previous version of the legislation in May. Among the concerns he cited was the $50,0000 salary to be paid to each of the 10-member exchange’s part-time board directors.

The bill was amended to eliminate that provision, according to Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex.

“The $50,000 — that I think, once this exchange gets up and running and people see all the work that’s necessary, may have been valid, but in order to move the exchange that was a point that I was willing to concede,” she said Monday.

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Another amendment calls for two members with health-care industry experience to be on the exchange board. To avoid any conflict of interest, those members cannot currently be working in the industry.

While the New Jersey Senate Commerce Committee has advanced the bill, Sen. Gerald Cardinale voted against it, saying it includes impediments to providing affordable health care.

“I am encouraged that the governor has the opportunity to make some changes or once again veto the bill in an outright fashion,” said Cardinale, R-Bergen.

If the state does not meet the deadline, the provisions of a federal exchange will take effect.

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