Gubernatorial candidate for Governor and State Senator Barbara Buono and Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. have teamed up in a press release calling on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to accept federal funding for the Medicaid expansion which they state will have a direct positive impact on the state’s economy and well-being of hundreds of thousands of residents. The statement was issued on Feb. 20, 2013.
The Medicaid expansion is a part of “Obamacare” which is controversial and has been refused by other republican governor’s because it does require a ten percent contribution from the state and it’s fashionable for the GOP to scoff at Obama’s plan. However, even with that contribution, the state would see approximately $1.7 billion a year in overall additional Medicaid spending over the first nine years of the expansion according to a report by New Jersey Policy Perspective.
Christie has not announced his intentions on whether or not the Garden State will participate. It’s not an easy decision for Christie, with “Obamacare” being unpopular among conservatives and independent’s he has to weigh the pro's and con's of the plan against the political repercussions in an election year.
Buono and Pallone “demanded action from Governor Christie on New Jersey’s Medicaid funding. Two weeks ago, Senator Buono called upon Governor Christie to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion. Yesterday, the Star-Ledger urged Governor Christie to stop dawdling and to accept Medicaid funding. As the Star-Ledger points out in their editorial, the economic benefits depend on getting as many uninsured people enrolled in the program as possible and time is running out.”
“At this point, 300,000 New Jerseyans are waiting for health care. Governor Christie’s hemming and hawing on the issue does not serve the people of New Jersey, although it might serve his political ambitions. The longer the Governor waits, the less time we will have to expand our Medicaid program effectively. This is yet another example of Governor Christie leaving our most vulnerable populations hanging in the balance while only furthering our economic troubles,” said Senator Buono.
“Expanding Medicaid in New Jersey is a no-brainer. By turning away billions of dollars in federal money the governor would be making a move that is bad for New Jersey families and bad for New Jersey's economy,” said Congressman Frank Pallone.
The statement also pointed out that “every single county in New Jersey would receive millions of dollars in federal funding to insure their most vulnerable populations. With nearly $2 billion a year on the line, it simply does not make sense to delay the implementation of this program. In addition, as the uninsured are concentrated in low-income communities, these areas would see new jobs dedicated to serving the newly insured in those areas.”