Today is a sad day for the people of this nation, the people of New Jersey and the people of East Orange.  The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, has become an integral part of the fabric of our society.  President Obama fought a long and tough race to bring healthcare to all.  We won that race, bringing healthcare to more than 20 million Americans, including 500,000 people in New Jersey.  With yesterday's actions by Congress, we now face the strong possibility that Americans will lose one of their inalienable rights – the provision of healthcare for themselves and their families.  The United States has taken a giant step backwards in the healthcare arena, leaving many to wonder – why…why have we as a nation, devalued the health of its citizens?  Our struggles with a White House that refuses to put the interests of people first, paints a picture devoid of hope and of a future that allows us to become a healthier America, a healthier New Jersey and a healthier city.  I stand with my colleagues and with you to do everything in my power to ensure healthcare remains a priority for you and for all of us.

Speaking of healthcare, the ability to afford and access care is vital to communities, like East Orange.  I stand with others in encouraging Governor Christie to cease and desist his attack against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars from Horizon to fund addiction treatment programs.   Two issues:  First, our communities and our families have struggled with addiction before it became a popular topic for our Governor.  Historically, the state of New Jersey has been devoid of treatment centers, particularly in urban communities.  We have desperately sought help for our loved ones for years.  Now our Governor has stepped into an arena that we know a great deal about and yet our communities continue to suffer.  While addiction treatment services are sorely needed in every corner of this state, we must not, cannot fund these services on the back of citizens who have as their insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.

If the Governor is successful in raiding the reserves of Horizon, Horizon will then have little choice but to pass the expense of the Governor’s actions onto its clients – many of you.   That is not acceptable.  I will not stand still while a safety net for you and your family is destroyed because the Governor believes the time is right – well Governor, we don’t believe the time is right for us now, not tomorrow, perhaps never. 

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In closing, East Orange will not sit idly by while we continue to be the recipient of increased costs for healthcare inflicted upon us from the White House in Washington nor the Golden Dome in Trenton.   I speak on behalf of the citizens of East Orange by saying we are standing up and will not sit down until we are satisfied with healthcare for all….it matters to us, to our families and to our city. 

Ted R. Green

East Orange City Council President

& 2017 Candidate for Mayor