A Good Day for New Jersey

 

Today was a good day to be from New Jersey.  I was never a big fan of Chris Christie.  His brash attitude and the unresolved controversy surrounding Bridgegate always had me leery.  But his new ad campaign on addressing the crippling and life threatening problem of addiction here in New Jersey has given me new respect for the Governor and his policies.

 

On Wednesday, February 15, 2017 Governor Christie signed legislation [Bill s3] requiring health insurance carriers to cover inpatient treatment and to set a limit on the amount of pain killers a doctor can prescribe.  The bipartisan bill goes into effect in 90 days.  While it does not address addiction treatment issues faced by those without insurance coverage, it does increase dramatically the access that the insured have to address their addiction issues without fear of dire financial consequences.

 

During my 33 years of practicing criminal law, I have been a witness to the devastation to clients and their families resulting from addiction issues.  While clients and families were eager to avail themselves of treatment, they were often impeded by the lack of insurance coverage and the high cost of treatment.  The long wait for inpatient treatment for those with no coverage caused prolonged pain for the addicted and their families.  This is a giant step going forward to help those in need at least those that do have insurance, but whose coverage did not include inpatient treatment.

 

In my divorce practice as well, this will be an encouraging step to allowing spouses with insurance coverage that previously did not cover inpatient treatment to avail themselves of treatment .  This may save their marriage and family.  The cost of inpatient treatment without coverage can be so prohibitive that families often tolerate spouses drug use for  years subjecting children to the ravages of addiction and even to setting the stage for new generations of addictive behavior.

Governor Christie has declared that his last year in office he will focus on increasing treatment opportunities for addicts and reducing wide spread abuse of painkillers.   I cannot think of a better campaign focus than that.

Hats off to our New Jersey Governor.