NJ governor signs bill to reinstate ObamaCare individual mandate

NJ governor signs bill to reinstate ObamaCare individual mandate
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Wednesday signed a bill into law that will reinstate the Obamacare individual mandate as the state attempts to stabilize its health insurance markets.

The bill implements a statewide fee for New Jersey residents who don't obtain health insurance through their job, Medicaid or another source, NJ.com reports.

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The plan is similar to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that was repealed by the GOP tax law last year.

New Jersey Democrats sent the bill to Murphy's office last month, making the state the first to reinstate the individual mandate after the Republican repeal of the federal provision.

New Jersey lawmakers say the state mandate is necessary to stabilize health insurance markets that were adversely affected by the mandate's repeal.

Republican efforts in Congress "will usher in an era of higher health insurance costs for everyone and lower health coverage rates. We want to protect New Jersey from the negative impact," state Sen. Troy Singleton (D) told NJ.com.

Just under 200,000 New Jersey residents paid the individual mandate fees in 2015 rather than obtaining health insurance, the website reports. Those funds will now be directed to the New Jersey Health Insurance Premium Security Fund, which Murphy also signed into law this week.

Total fees collected that year under the mandate equaled about $93 million, according to the website.

Republicans have called the individual mandate an unfair tax on Americans who choose not to purchase health insurance, and made overturning the Obama-era provision of the Affordable Care Act a top priority of the GOP Congress last year.