For Immediate Release
Contact: Louis Di Paolo, (201) 417-5049 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org
TRENTON (January 28, 2019) — Raymond Castro, Health Policy Director at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP), will retire at the end of March, NJPP announced today.
Ray has directed NJPP’s health care research and advocacy since joining the organization in 2006, and prior to that, worked at the New Jersey Department of Human Services for more than 33 years.
“Ray’s career epitomizes public service,” said Brandon McKoy, President of NJPP. “Everyone gets into this line of work to improve the lives of people, but few individuals have had more success than Ray. It’s been a pleasure to work with him and to have him represent NJPP for all of these years. We will miss him.”
During Ray’s tenure as Health Policy Director, he turned NJPP into a go-to organization for nearly all major health care initiatives proposed in Trenton.
“When Ray joined our staff, he made NJPP instantly credible on health issues, and all he’s accomplished since then for the people of New Jersey is a tribute to his knowledge and compassion,” said Jon Shure, founding President of NJPP and current Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Notably, New Jersey’s decision to opt into Medicaid expansion was influenced by Ray’s comprehensive analysis on its health and economic benefits. This is a lasting legacy to Ray’s work, as Medicaid expansion alone benefitted half a million residents, generated $3 billion annually in federal revenue, and created thousands of jobs.
More recently, New Jersey was the first state in the nation to quantify the harm that would be caused by the Trump administration’s proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A key feature of these reports was a breakdown of the impact by congressional district, which provided the data necessary for constituents to hold their representatives accountable.
Ray’s research and expertise, combined with the advocacy of the NJ for Health Care coalition, were also critical to the state’s response to the Trump administration’s sabotage of the ACA. Ray was a leading voice behind efforts for New Jersey to institute its own individual mandate, ban short-term junk plans, create a reinsurance fund, and establish a state-based health exchange.
The progress that NJPP has made in anti-poverty during this time is no less remarkable. When Ray joined NJPP, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) had been completely ignored by the state for decades and was in danger of disappearing. That all changed when NJPP released a report showing how much the state’s safety net had fallen behind those of other states. As a result of that report and the widespread advocacy that stemmed from it, the state has increased the TANF grant by 32 percent, the highest increase in the nation over the last two years.
“What an honor and privilege it has been to work for such an outstanding organization like NJPP,” said NJPP Health Policy Director Ray Castro. “The progress that has been made in expanding health coverage during my time here is truly remarkable. I want to sincerely thank my colleagues at NJPP, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, members of the NJ for Health Care coalition, the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, the many advocates who pushed for evidence-based health policy, and the state lawmakers and administrative officials who championed these efforts. Together, we have made New Jersey a leader in promoting economic opportunity for everyone, a goal few would have imagined 13 years ago.”
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