Cardinale, Kyrillos: Governor’s Indecisiveness Puts Stimulus Funds at Risk

Cardinale, Kyrillos: Governor’s Indecisiveness Puts Stimulus Funds at Risk

September 10, 2009

Hearing Can’t Mask Absence of Leadership and Competence That Has Left 300,000 New Jerseyans Without Health Insurance

Senators Gerald Cardinale and Joe Kyrillos, Republicans on the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, said the committee’s “upbeat” hearing on electronic medical records appears to have been orchestrated to mask the Corzine administration’s dismal record on health care policy. The senators pointed out that 300,000 fewer people in New Jersey have health insurance than when the Democrats led by Corzine assumed power in 2002.

In contrast, the number of uninsured fell in New York State during the same period. They also noted with frustration that Corzine has put $40 million in matching stimulus funds at risk by moving agonizingly slowly to implement plans for switching to electronic records in New Jersey.

“Our unemployment rate is the highest in the region and our economic development policies are the worst in the nation,” Senator Kyrillos said. “That’s why hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans don’t have health insurance, and we should be talking about the policies needed to change that dismal policy performance today.”

Senator Cardinale noted that Governor Corzine signed the legislation creating the 19-member New Jersey Health Technology Commission in January 2008. Cardinale said more than 18 months after the commission was created, Corzine has yet to name 19 members. The governor waited five months to name the first public members. Corzine last appointed a public member in February 2009. Now a deadline for receiving federal stimulus money for conversion to electronic medical records is just one month away, Cardinale said.

“It’s been frustrating to watch the Corzine administration’s plodding on this vital policy issue,” Cardinale said. “While the governor has criticized anyone who questions the wisdom of even one dime of federal stimulus spending, he has put New Jersey’s share of stimulus funds at risk with dawdling management of appointments and policy implementation.”

“This committee is supposed to review the governor’s policies and come up with ways to make them better,” Kyrillos said. “This state faces critical issues involving job creation, corruption and the growing lack of health insurance for 300,000 people. Why aren’t we spending a day of hearings on any of those topics?”

“This committee should have been meeting regularly before today to hold the Corzine administration’s feet to the fire on medical records policy,” Cardinale said.