Murphy Administration Releases Plan to Improve Healthcare Affordability

Plan Aims to Slow Rising Healthcare Costs

The Murphy administration today released a detailed description of its plan to improve healthcare affordability in New Jersey through the recently-launched Health Care Affordability, Responsibility and Transparency (HART) program. The initiative sets targets for healthcare leaders to meet in regards to healthcare costs, in an effort to slow the unsustainable rate of growth.

In January 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy signed executive order no. 217 to direct the development of a healthcare cost growth benchmark program – the newly named HART Program. The program was then formally established when the governor signed Executive Order No. 277 in December 2021.

The HART Program was developed by the Interagency Health Care Affordability Working Group – led by Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency Director Shabnam Salih and consisting of representatives from the Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI), Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Health (DOH), Division of Consumer Affairs, and the Department of the Treasury – with guidance from an advisory group comprised of health care leaders and relevant stakeholders.

The blueprint released by the HART Program today lays out the target rate of growth for healthcare spending and explains the program’s comprehensive approach to understanding the factors that drive costs. The program’s approaches encompasses collection and analysis of insurance, hospital, provider and pharmaceutical costs to track our state’s progress in meeting these targets, understand cost drivers and identify strategies to help curb costs.

Various advocates, hospitals, health care providers, insurers, unions, employers, and other stakeholders across New Jersey have signed onto a compact, committing to working towards meeting the program’s targets and goals.

“Through continued collaboration with healthcare leaders across the state, this critical program aims to make healthcare more affordable for New Jersey families while promoting a more sustainable healthcare future for our state,” the governor said.

“This report presents a vision and a pathway towards a future in which high-quality health care can be more affordable and accessible for all New Jerseyans,” said Governor’s Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency Director Shabnam Salih. “I am proud of this administration’s commitment to comprehensive health care affordability and the role of my office in this important work. With the release of this blueprint, we will forge ahead with implementation of these critical next steps in close collaboration with New Jersey’s health care leaders across industry and policy.”

A survey of 900 New Jersey adults conducted in 2020 found that more than three-quarters (77%) are worried about being able to afford health care. Over the past two decades, family premiums and employee contributions to premiums have increased at a far greater rate than household incomes.

For a copy of the HART Program Blueprint, please click here.

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