An excellent editorial in the Press of Atlantic City today asks why our counties are forcing local taxpayers to line George Norcross’s wallet with our money?
In a report released last week, the Office of the State Comptroller found that if local governments currently using private health insurers switched to the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBH), they – and taxpayers – could save a combined $100 million a year.
Seven of the state’s 21 counties and 349 of the state’s 566 municipalities already use the state plan, according to figures from April 2011. Good for them. State Comptroller Matthew Boxer says their savings amount to approximately $1,000 per enrollee.
So why aren’t the 14 other counties and 217 other municipalities using the State Health Benefits Plan?
Marlton-based Conner Strong & Buckelew is the largest insurance broker in the state – and it is controlled by Democratic power broker George Norcross. When towns use the state health plan, Norcross’ firm and others like it do not earn any commissions or fees. And an analysis by NJSpotlight.com shows the four counties with the highest percentage of municipalities not using the state health plan are controlled by Democrats – Hudson, Camden, Gloucester and Salem (the last three being Norcross’ power base).
Big surprise there! Camden County politicians are screwing their constituency to ensure that their power base remains powerful. But it gets better –
…Senate President Stephen Sweeney – a Gloucester County Democrat who is a longtime friend and ally of Norcross – tried to get the Legislature to approve a provision barring the state health plan from accepting any more counties, towns or school districts as members. Sweeney quickly dropped the plan after The New York Times noted how the change would help his pal Norcross.
It is time to look into the particulars of Cumberland County. The City of Vineland, Stow Creek and Greenwich Townships, and Shiloh Borough all are not enrolled in the SHBH. Conner strong likes Cumberland County so much, Norcross has an office in Bridgeton just down the street from the County Court House. I will delve deeper into the insurance programs at the county level in future articles.