New Jersey: New Gov. Phil Murphy a champion of the ACA and Open Enrollment!

This won't have too much effect until November (aside from more mentions of Special Enrollment Periods, I presume), but this is EXTREMELY welcome news for ACA supporters; 

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 4

WHEREAS, a primary goal of my administration is to ensure that every New Jerseyan has access to affordable health insurance and none of our residents are unable to see a doctor when they are sick; and

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act represented a huge step forward in ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable health insurance; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey turned down a substantial amount of federal funding when it declined to create a state-based exchange that would have been customized to the needs of New Jersey residents, and given the State greater flexibility in its enrollment period; and

WHEREAS, over 275,000 New Jerseyans currently receive health insurance coverage on the federal marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act; and

WHEREAS, this number is down from over 295,000 New Jerseyans during the prior enrollment period that started during the fall of 2016; and

WHEREAS, the enrollment period during the fall of 2016 lasted for a full three months, while the Trump administration cut the 2017 enrollment period in half so that it only lasted from November 1 through December 15; and

WHEREAS, the Trump administration cut the advertising budget for the Affordable Care Act enrollment period by 90 percent, from $100 million in 2016 to $10 million in 2017; and

WHEREAS, “navigators” are organizations that play a crucial role in facilitating individual enrollment in the marketplace; and

WHEREAS, in New Jersey, the Trump administration cut funding for navigators by 62 percent, resulting in New Jersey receiving over $1 million less to conduct outreach; and

WHEREAS, the Trump administration and Congress placed an additional obstacle to a well-functioning marketplace by repealing the individual mandate in their tax bill in December 2017; and

WHEREAS, not only is the health and well-being of the uninsured population endangered by its lack of access to primary care, but this unacceptable situation also places an additional burden on hospitals to provide services at the emergency room to anyone in need, raises premiums for those who have insurance, and requires taxpayers to subsidize those services through programs such as Charity Care; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of all New Jerseyans to have as many individuals covered by health insurance as possible; and

WHEREAS, a number of New Jersey State agencies come in regular contact with members of the public; and

WHEREAS, these state agencies are critical points of contact for sharing information with the general public; and

WHEREAS, I am committed to taking necessary actions at the State level to ensure that individuals who want to obtain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace are made aware of how and when to enroll;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. All State entities that regularly interact with the public shall undertake reasonable measures, to the extent permitted by law and budgetary constraints, to provide information to the public regarding the Affordable Care Act marketplace and ways to enroll.

2. Examples of such measures include, but shall not be limited to, posting of signs with enrollment information, publishing relevant information on agency websites, integrating information on the enrollment period into existing forms and pamphlets that provide information about social services, training agency staff to provide such information when appropriate, and working with navigators to improve public access and awareness.

3. For purposes of this Order, “State entity” shall mean any of the principal departments in the Executive Branch of State government and any agency, authority, board, bureau, commission, division, institution, office, or other instrumentality within or created by any such department, and any independent State authority, commission, instrumentality, or agency over which the Governor exercises executive authority, as determined by the Attorney General.

4. Each state entity that regularly interacts with the public shall prepare and submit to the Governor, by May 31, 2018, a report detailing the actions it has undertaken in furtherance of this Order to facilitate enrollment in the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and also shall submit to the Governor an updated report on August 31, 2018.

5. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal this
21st day of January,
Two Thousand and Eighteen,
and of the Independence of the United States,
the Two Hundred and Forty-Second.

/s/ Philip D. Murphy Governor

Attest: /s/ Matthew J. Platkin Chief Counsel to the Governor