The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. Access to quality health care shall not be denied to residents of the State because of their inability to pay for the care; there are many residents of the State, particularly those with incomes below the federal poverty level, who cannot pay for needed hospital care and in order to ensure that these persons have equal access to hospital care it is necessary to maintain a mechanism which will ensure payment of uncompensated hospital care; and to protect the fiscal solvency of the State's general hospitals, as provided for in P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et al.), it is necessary that all payers of health care services share equally in the payment of uncompensated care on a Statewide basis.
b. The "New Jersey Uncompensated Care Trust Fund," created pursuant to P.L.1986, c.204, and continued pursuant to P.L.1989, c.1 (C.26:2H-18.4 et seq.), which law expired on December 31, 1990, by which hospitals were able to collect their reasonable cost of approved uncompensated care, resulted in unobstructed access to health care for residents without insurance who otherwise are unable to afford care.
c. Having received and thoroughly reviewed the reports issued by the Commissioner of Health and the Governor's Commission on Health Care Costs on uncompensated care, its economic implications and various means of financing uncompensated care, it is evident that provision for a trust fund is necessary, with modifications, to ensure access to hospital care for those who cannot afford to pay and the fiscal solvency of hospitals. At the same time, the State should take further actions to: provide more comprehensive Medicaid coverage for the medically indigent, reduce the rate of increase in health insurance premiums and explore and implement various initiatives to reduce the amount of uncompensated care in this State without impairing access to care.
L.1991,c.187,s.1; per s.86 as amended by 1992, c.160, s.27, expired December 31, 1992.