From ................ National Catholic Reporter

January 26, 1996

page 6-7


Despite a plea from the state's Catholic bishops, the New Jersey Legislature ended its 1995 session Jan. 9 without new funding for charity care—leaving Catholic hospitals holding the bag for about $2 million a week in unreimbursed services. The former legislation expired Dec. 31.

In a statement in mid-December, the state's bishops warned that a failure to revive the charity-care funding system "would not only expose the urban poor to a denial of health care but also would be catastrophic to our hospitals."

They called on Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and the legislature "to lay aside any partisan differences and adopt a joint approach to this problem." They warned that not funding charity care would exacerbate problems the poor and elderly already face from expected federal cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid.

There are 13 [Roman] Catholic hospitals in the state, most serving predominantly urban areas where the highest levels of charity care occur.

In 1995 the [Roman] Catholic hospitals provided at least $92 million in charity care that was or would be reimbursed by the public fund.