Governor Says “Who, Me?”

Who, Me? Nope I Didn’t Do It!

New Jersey Governor says he didn’t intervene in insurer dispute

by Bloomberg 24 Jun 2022

by John Tozzi and Elise Young

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he didn’t intervene in a state contract dispute with insurer Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield that a former state official said was abruptly put on hold last year under pressure from the governor’s office.

“I haven’t stepped in,” Murphy said Wednesday at an event in Red Bank. “There’s a process that you go through when an agency in government has an issue with payment from a vendor. And that process is underway, and we’ll let that process play out.”

Murphy was responding to a question about a Bloomberg News report that described how New Jersey Treasury officials overseeing the state health plan tried to recoup $34 million from Horizon. In an internal complaint, the state said the insurer had failed to deliver care-navigation services, for which the state had paid extra, that were meant to steer plan members to lower-cost, higher-quality medical care.

The official complaint process began more than a year ago, but it was put on hold days before a response from Horizon was due, according to records reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Christin Deacon, the former state contract manager, said it was halted under pressure from the governor’s office, and that Murphy later stopped by a meeting about the dispute and praised Horizon officials.

Horizon has said it disagrees with the complaint and has responded. The state told Bloomberg it has no records of a response.

A spokesperson for Murphy declined to comment Thursday beyond the governor’s remarks at the event.