TRENTON — New Jersey Sens. Steve Oroho and Declan O'Scanlon would like to know why health premiums for certain public employees in the Garden State may be going up as much as 24%, and are proposing the formation of a legislative committee to investigate the increase.

On Tuesday, Oroho, R-24th, and O'Scanlon, R-13th, introduced a measure to establish the "New Jersey Public Employee Health Care Program Costs Investigation Committee" amid reports, according to a release from Oroho's office, indicating premiums covered by state programs would bump up 24% for active government workers and 15.6% for school employees and teachers in fiscal 2023.

Retirees in the State Health Benefits Program would pay 15.6% more for health care, and School Employees' Health Benefits Program retirees would contribute 13.6% more, the release said.

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The entire remainder of the Republican Senate delegation is co-sponsoring the measure.

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, D-29th, and Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-36th, introduced a bill on Monday to "expand the membership of the commissions responsible for approving" any such rate increases.

The Democrats' release indicated that their leadership pushed for approval of the hikes to be postponed.

Gov. Phil Murphy so far has weighed in very little, including when directly asked by reporters about the proposals the last week of July.

Oroho and O'Scanlon would also like their committee to investigate state contracts with Horizon in the wake of allegations reported by Bloomberg that suggest the Murphy administration backed off from attempting to recover $34 million paid out to the health insurer.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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