No matter how hard he may try to distance himself from his bad decisions, Gov. Phil Murphy did, in my opinion, have a hand in the many deaths that occurred in nursing homes in New Jersey.

Like his counterpart in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, under Murphy’s watch, thousands of elderly were placed back into their assisted living facilities after testing positive for COVID-19.

Presumably, in order to assuage his guilt, he signed two bills that would bring significant change to the long-term care industry. The only problem is, the reforms that he is making are more show than substance. And they are designed to place the blame on the industry, rather than the decisions that were made regarding placement of those patients.

One of the bills will require a minimum staff-to-resident ratio in long-term care facilities, which of course is going to cost the owners money, by forcing them to hire extra people.

In order to deflect personal culpability, the governor went out of his way to place the blame for the deaths of thousands of elderly squarely on the industry, by saying, according to an article on, the facilities “were dangerously unprepared for the rapid response needed to address the demands of a public health crisis.”

That’s not what happened. He put people with an extremely contagious disease in a population of healthy people. That’s what happened. He also claims, according to the article, that his new reforms “will help bring accountability to the industry” while saying nothing about his own accountability.

In the most egregious mischaracterization of what happened, the governor said this: “Sadly, too many nursing homes are run by companies more interested in making money than protecting patients.” Yes, Gov. Murphy, nursing homes are a business. We already know the governor is not fond of private business owners, but like it or not, they are in the business of making money. And as far as “protecting patients” goes, for the most part, they were doing a great job before the governor himself bungled it.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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