Friday Facts and Figures is a brief digital newsletter focusing on data points from NJPP reports, research, and policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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Now that the open enrollment period has ended, preliminary figures for New Jersey show a nine percent enrollment decrease from last year; this equates to nearly 20,000 fewer New Jerseyans purchasing insurance in the Marketplace. This drop mirrors the experiences of other states, as the Trump administration cut the enrollment period in half and gutted funding for enrollment outreach and assistance. [NJ.com / Susan Livio]
New Jersey’s enrollment decrease does not tell a complete story, however, as many residents may have found better deals outside of the health exchange. For a 27-year old non-smoker, a silver plan off the exchange would come in at $400 less than a similar plan on the marketplace. NJPP’s Health Policy Director Raymond Castro explains to Bloomberg Law that these savings are a direct result of New Jersey’s recently enacted individual mandate, reinsurance fund, and DOBI’s work encouraging insurers to provide low-cost Silver plans. [Bloomberg Law / Sara Hansard]
Earlier this week Governor Murphy signed into law the first increase in cash assistance for struggling families in 31 years. For a family of three, their $424 monthly benefit will rise to $466. The need for this increase was made apparent by a landmark NJPP report two years ago detailing the inadequacy of the state’s TANF benefit. Had the $424 monthly benefit been tied to inflation when it was enacted in 1987, it would be worth $946 today. [NJ.com / Susan Livio]
The minimum wage bill vetoed in 2016 by then-Governor Christie would have phased in a $15 minimum wage by 2021. Now, instead of making up for lost time, legislators are moving forward with a proposal to phase in a $15 minimum wage by 2024 for most workers, and 2029 for “carved out” sectors of workers. By the time these carved out workers will reach $15, it will only be worth $11.76 in 2021-dollars. [NJPP / Brandon McKoy]
Legislation to expand access to driver’s licenses to all New Jerseyans — regardless of immigration status — was first introduced twelve years ago in 2006. Now, with 2018 coming to a close and immigrant communities under constant attack by the Trump administration, the New Jersey Legislature is no closer to advancing driver’s licenses for all. Recent reports attribute this to the 2019 election, when every member of the General Assembly will be on the ballot. [NJPP / Erika Nava]
Last week NJPP honored the legacy of Kathleen Crotty, former NJPP board chair and executive director of the New Jersey Senate Majority Office, at a reception in downtown Trenton. The event coincided with the release of a 20-page report on reproductive health by NJPP’s 2018 Crotty Fellow, Jazmyne McNeese. You can read about Jazmyne’s report, where she outlines an agenda for more comprehensive reproductive health care, in this article by NJ Spotlight. [NJ Spotlight / Lilo Stainton]
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