NEW JERSEY FIRST LADY TAMMY MURPHY UNVEILS GROUNDBREAKING PLAN TO ELIMINATE RACIAL DISPARITIES IN NEW JERSEY'S MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY
First Lady Tammy Murphy and national public health expert Dr. Vijaya Hogan unveiled the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Plan – a strategy to reduce New Jersey’s high rates of maternal and infant mortality and eliminate the racial disparities responsible for these deaths. The strategic plan is the latest element of the First Lady’s Nurture NJ initiative, which aims to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to deliver and raise a baby. Currently, Black mothers in the state are seven times more likely than white mothers to die from pregnancy-related complications. In addition, Black babies in New Jersey are three times more likely than white babies to die before their first birthdays.
“Fully achieving the goals of Nurture NJ requires transformative change to a system that has historically and disproportionately failed Black women,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “The Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan provides the blueprint for necessary collaboration, partnership, and communication among government, private stakeholders, nonprofits and impacted communities and will ensure every New Jersey mother and baby gets off to a healthy start.”
“The Nurture NJ strategic plan is designed to build a complete ecosystem that supports the health and well-being of mothers and infants,” said Dr. Vjiaya Hogan, independent consultant, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Public Health, UNC-CH and lead author of the Nurture NJ plan. “The desire for transformative change was shared in every stakeholder discussion across New Jersey and the nation. This plan is about changing health outcomes through changing the way society treats women of color in all aspects of their lives.”
“This plan is not just a ‘quick fix’ — it’s a long-term strategy that will result in the systemic change needed to reach our goal of making New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to give birth and raise a baby,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “By focusing on equity, we can more effectively transform a system that has been failing New Jersey’s women of color for too long.”
GOVERNOR MURPHY SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER ADVANCING HEALTH CARE AFFORDABILITY EFFORTS
Governor Phil Murphy, joined by Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency Director Shabnam Salih, Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert Garrett, and health care advocates, signed Executive Order No. 217, which directs the Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency to convene an Interagency Health Care Affordability Workgroup to identify opportunities administration wide and across the public and private sectors to advance shared goals of improved health care affordability, accessibility, and transparency.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout in its wake have laid bare socio-economic disparities and underscored the importance of more equitable, affordable access to health care services, coverage, and prescription medicines,” said Governor Murphy. “Despite the progress we’ve made, health care costs continue to be a challenge for New Jersey residents, employers, and the State. Throughout this past year, our health care workforce has come together selflessly in service to our residents. The time is now to build on this collective spirit to more fully transform our health care system to make it more equitable, accessible, and affordable.”
This work builds on the administration’s efforts to improve access to high-quality, affordable health insurance for residents under the Affordable Care Act, including the establishment of a state based marketplace, a reinsurance program, a shared responsibility requirement, the implementation of out of network reforms and providing eligible residents with additional financial subsidies.
“New Jerseyans have lost so much due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also seen tremendous leadership and service from our health care leaders and recognize that we are upon a transformative moment in health care,” said Shabnam Salih, Director of the Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency. “We must continue to do all we can to save lives and ensure our residents have equitable access to more affordable health care and that includes working to stem the tide of health care cost growth. I look forward to working with leaders across the state, across industry and consumers and advocates to build plans and policy solutions that help us get there.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of health care access, and highlighted the critical need for our continued work to address health care affordability,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. “By understanding the specific cost drivers within the health care system, we can set benchmarks and policies aimed at containing costs that are ultimately paid by our residents. This administration has taken numerous actions to improve access to health coverage and care for our residents. We are now taking the next step forward to improve the health care system in our state for all of our residents by looking at health care costs across markets.”
“The Department of Health look forwards to participating in the Interagency Health Care Affordability Work Group,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “This effort will help ensure that consumers and health care providers benefit from transparency and increased information regarding health care costs while maintaining a strong, integrated health care network to ensure access to all New Jersey residents.”
GOVERNOR MURPHY CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF FIRST COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT ENERGIZED IN NEW JERSEY
Governor Phil Murphy celebrated the completion of the first community solar project energized in New Jersey, helping to build an equitable and clean energy future for all New Jerseyans. The project, constructed in Perth Amboy by New Jersey developer Solar Landscape, was developed as part of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. Established in 2019, as directed by Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 28 (2018), the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program ensures underserved and overburdened communities can access the health and financial benefits of renewable energy. The completion of the project marks a monumental milestone in the Administration’s commitment to environmental justice by expanding access to renewable energy and is a key component of reaching the Governor’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
“Since day one, my Administration has been clear on our pursuit of an equitable and inclusive clean energy future for all New Jerseyans,” said Governor Murphy. “The Community Solar Energy Pilot Program is a smart and sustainable component of our clean energy future that positions New Jersey as a world leader in the innovation economy, while investing in communities and ensuring environmental justice for all.”
"New Jersey is on the frontline of the climate crisis, and I’m proud that our state is leading the way on our path toward a clean, low-carbon future,” said Congressman Frank Pallone. “These investments help ensure our state is ready to tackle the challenges of the climate crisis head on. Climate change is an opportunity to empower our workers with new, good paying jobs and to prioritize the needs and the voices of our environmental justice communities. Today it’s clear that when we invest in green technology, we don’t have to choose between fighting climate change and economic growth. I’d like to thank Governor Murphy, Mayor Caba, and BPU President Fiordaliso for helping get this project across the finish line.”
“Clean energy is the wave of the future and we must embrace it as we seek to address climate change for the generations to come,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “I am proud that the first community solar project to come online is in my home county of Middlesex. Clean energy, like solar, is not only good for our environment, it also creates sustainable jobs for thousands of New Jersey residents. Now, Perth Amboy residents can elect to have their clean energy sourced right from their own backyard. I thank Governor Murphy for his commitment to reaching 100 percent clean energy.”
“We could not be more pleased with the progress of our first year of community solar projects, and are thrilled to recognize the first completed projects today,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President. “From the job-creation aspects of community solar to expanding access to renewable energy to more New Jerseyans, especially in historically underserved communities, we look forward to continuing this successful program with the program’s second round of awards later this year.”
GOVERNOR MURPHY ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR UNINSURED IN NEW JERSEY IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Following the Biden Administration’s health care action on Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy announced the State is extending the health insurance enrollment period for uninsured residents to sign up for coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Ensuring that our residents have access to quality, affordable health insurance has been a top priority of our administration since day one,” said Governor Murphy. “As we continue our work to save lives and protect New Jerseyans in response to the pandemic, this action will expand opportunities for residents to get the coverage they need to maintain their health and wellbeing. I want to thank President Biden for taking this necessary step at the federal level to further complement the relief efforts of his American Rescue Plan.”
“We want to ensure that New Jerseyans have the coverage they need to see a doctor when they are sick, but also to get the preventive care that is so vital to their long-term health,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. “Keeping open the enrollment window for those who are uninsured will give residents the chance to choose a plan now, instead of having to wait until next year to get covered. Especially during a public health emergency, this extension is crucial to protecting our residents’ health.”
Last year, Governor Murphy requested that the Trump Administration reopen the Affordable Care Act enrollment period in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the administration refused. Earlier this week, the Biden Administration announced that it would reopen health insurance enrollment in states that are utilizing the federal marketplace through a Special Enrollment Period.
GOVERNOR MURPHY AND FIRST LADY TAMMY MURPHY TOUR VACCINATION SITES ACROSS NEW JERSEY
Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy visited vaccination sites across New Jersey, with Governor Murphy visiting the Meadowlands Vaccination Mega-Site and Hudson County's Vaccination Center, and First Lady Murphy visiting the newly launched Atlantic City Convention Center mega-site.