500,000 New Jerseyans gain health care coverage under Medicaid expansion, Christie says

Gov. Chris Christie listens to a question after announcing Monday that more than 500

Gov. Chris Christie listens to a question after announcing Monday that more than 500

His decision three years ago to have New Jersey participate in the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act was the right one, Gov. Chris Christie says.

The expansion allowed more than half-a-million Garden State residents to gain health insurance coverage under Medicaid, he said, as it reduced the state’s share of health care expenditures.

But Christie said Monday that he’s ordering some changes so the state no longer pays for mental health services that aren’t used.

“We are one of just a few states left who continue to pay for these things in a blanket way rather than pay fees for service. We’re not going to do that any longer,” he said. “The extensions that we’ve given are over.”

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Another quibble: Christie said future governors should have the ability to pull out of Medicaid expansion if the federal government changes the rules.

“If they bring reimbursement levels below what they promised, the state of New Jersey should have the option to opt out if it’s going to further burden our taxpayers in an unfair way,” he said.

While he deems Medicaid expansion a success, Christie remained critical of other parts of the Affordable Care Act.

“The part of Obamacare that I most strenuously object to is the part that’s showing incredible failure now. Huge double-digit increases in premiums. Insurers dropping out of Obamacare exchanges all across the country,” he said. “That’s the part that’s failed. That’s the part we’re most critical of.”

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