The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is pleased to report that an important milestone has been reached in the ongoing effort to control public employees’ health care costs without sacrificing quality of care. A patient-centered health care plan has been approved and will be available to employees on a pilot basis beginning early next year.
We commend our union representatives for overseeing the design of public-employee health benefit plans and for their five months of hard work and negotiation in getting this innovative new health care delivery model approved. We also applaud Senate President Stephen Sweeney for spearheading the program. Senator Sweeney called the approval of the plan “a great victory” and he credited the members of our affiliated unions with making it happen.
This plan differs substantially from traditional fee-for-service health care. In this model, doctors are paid based on seeing a limited number of patients and are provided with incentive bonuses for keeping patients healthy.
The plan is a win-win. It will be popular among employees because it does not burden them with additional costs, certain co-pays will be waived and the number of patients their doctor sees will be capped, giving them more individualized attention. For the state, the savings could top $100 million.
As we move forward with the implementation of this plan, it’s important to remember that labor is once again part of the solution. We can accomplish great goals when we stand together.