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article image300,000 denied health insurance in NJ due to Chris Christie veto

By Yukio Strachan     Jun 29, 2013 in Politics
Trenton - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potential presidential candidate for 2016, on Friday vetoed a bill that would have provided health insurance to hundreds of thousands of the state's poor who are currently ineligible.
Christie vetoed bill S2644 which expanded medicaid eligibility under the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, Reuters writes.
The ACA stipulates that the federal government will pick up 100 percent of costs associated with expanding Medicaid for the first three years. After a three-year phase down, the federal government will permanently pay 90 percent of the costs, the Senate Health Committee said in a press release.
During his annual Budget Address in February, Governor Christie said he would accept federal to participate in the federal Medicaid Expansion Program. The state budget he signed on Friday included $227 million in such funds.
But while the budget included federal money under the ACA, it did not increase the number of people eligible to receive health care.
Specifically, the bill would have increased the Medicaid income eligibility limit to 138 percent of the federal poverty level for all non-senior citizen adults and legal residents starting Jan. 1, 2014, Politicker NJ reported.
A month ago, Raymond Castro of the New Jersey Policy Perspective told Politicker the current limits on income eligibility are far too restrictive:
“The only way that they can become eligible for Medicaid now is if they apply and are approved for General Assistance which has a monthly income eligibility limit of $140 for an employable individual as well as many other eligibility requirements that sharply limit participation in the program,” he said in a statement last month.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 307,000 uninsured adults would have been newly eligible for coverage if Christie had not vetoed the bill.
The bill passed the General Assembly with a vote of 46-32-0 and the Senate with a vote of 26-12 and was sent to the Governor’s desk on 6/24/2013, according to the New Jersey state legislature web site.
While not saying specifically why he vetoed this particular bill, Politicker NJ writes, Christie said in a statement Friday that the bills he did veto “would potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local budgets frustrating New Jersey’s already over-burdened taxpayers and undermining the budget I signed today.”
He added that those spending items should have been part of budget negotiations.
Christie signed the $32.9 billion state budget, which starts Monday and runs through June 30, 2014, in private Friday, foregoing a public signing or press conference, and only issued a press release Friday to announce the budget had become law, NorthJersey.com reported.
More about Chris christie, Medicaid expansion, Patient protection and affordable care act, Veto
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