Gusciora to Introduce Single-Payer Healthcare Legislation

GuscioraState Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Reed Gusciora announced on Monday that he will be introducing legislation to establish a single-payer healthcare system in New Jersey.

“For decades, we’ve treated healthcare as a privilege, and not a right,” said Gusciora, who represents Mercer and Hunterdon counties in the 15th District. “We’re the only industrialized nation that lets its citizens face financial ruin if they get sick. The fact of the matter is healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. If we introduce a single-payer system, we ensure that everyone will have access to healthcare.”

The Affordable Care Act allows states to establish health care exchanges for the purpose of connecting citizens with insurers matched to their needs. Gusciora said the act provides for considerable discretion to the states in designing and managing these exchanges; a single-payer system would be permissible under federal law.

By combining aspects from a variety of health care financing schemes, Gusciora said the single-payer system would alter the pathway by which care is paid for, while leaving patient rights and autonomy untouched. The patient would maintain control over all health care decisions, including which doctors they see and which hospitals they use without network restrictions, he said. The state government, as the “single payer,” would negotiate costs and foots the bill for care.

“Much like Medicare or Medicaid, under a single-payer system the government would negotiate rates with hospitals and insurers. Because of how many people they represent, government has a lot of clout, and can negotiate better prices than other organizations,” Gusciora said.

Gusciora said he drew inspiration for his plan from U.S. Bernie Sanders’ proposed federal single-payer system.

“I think that social equality and justice are on the minds of Americans now more than ever before. I think the time is right to make some big changes that will take us big steps in the right direction,” he said.

“Americans pay more for health care than any other industrialized nation, and our financing system is unique. It’s pretty obvious that’s where the problem lies,” Gusciora said. “When we pass single-payer care, we can demonstrate to the nation that there is a way to provide patient autonomy, quality care, insure all your citizens, and keep costs reasonable.”



  1. “… and keep costs reasonable.”

    Econ. 101. When you make something more available for less, consumers will demand more of it. E.g., people going to emergency rooms for hang nails and similar ‘ailments.’

    You might want to rethink this one there, Mr. Gusciora or dust off your Samuelson – if you have a copy.

  2. Every other industrialized democracy (that excludes countries like China, N. Korea) has some form or version of universal health care but the richest country on earth. In those countries, everyone is covered and no one goes bankrupt from medical expenses. In addition, Rx medicines are significantly cheaper than in the US. The GOP, the AMA and Ronald Reagan fought against Medicare and Medicaid. Their advice to the sick, old and poor: tough luck or just drop dead already. Bravo to Reed but the right wingers, GOP and libertarian loons will fight him every inch of the way.

    1. I agree, and would also like to note this would not enable people to go to the emergency room for minor ailments, as the previous commenter seemed to think. That’s an alarmist claim.

      1. The number of visits of this sort to emergency rooms has increased dramatically under Obamacare. The data shows this and anecdotally as well. (Talk to folks who work in these venues and they’ll confirm.) Whether this is good or bad, I make no judgement. It just is. And is compelled by behavior under economic theory, proven time and again.

        1. So many more people have insurance now, that I don’t disbelieve that, but I think the fix is to increase the co-pay for non-emergency visits to discourage that behavior. I know I’ve had insurance that only waves a co-pay if I’m admitted as a result of the ER visit. Tighter controls could mitigate the problem, I would think, because I do agree it’s not good to abuse it.

  3. Before the ACA was introduced, the State of NJ did an excellent job negotiating & offering a catastrophic type insurance plan for NJ families & individuals who fell through the cracks. I’m sure the state would do as well with other negotiations on the behalf of all constituents. A bi-partisan solution for health care is needed, to stop the completely ridiculous fighting at the Federal level over a basic need. It’s nice to see a NJ politician being pro-active & protective of all constituents. I would hope in addition that a NJ State monitored offering would increase security of everyone’s information too. Horizon, for example, outsources it’s 800 call centers to the Phillipines, Nigeria, & Chad, Africa…sending details of the personal information & care activity of many subscribers to overseas (potentially unsecure) databanks & workers. UMCPP has expanded the release of all patient information to include research, marketing, and teaching…which basically now puts people’s private health care information unprotected & into the mainstream.

  4. Bravo, Reed! It’s good to see someone with the guts to step up to the plate on this issue. Our health care financing system is a disgrace. Eliminate insurance companies, and we’ll take a good 10-15% out of health care costs.

  5. Finally, someone has guts to lead. Let’s take the employer out of the healthcare business and let them concentrate on their own industry.

Comments are closed.