How New Jersey’s voter-approved medicaid expansion could affect Medicaid and other benefits
Posted On August 3, 2021
NEW JERSEY — New Jersey voters approved a sweeping Medicaid expansion Thursday, ending the state’s years-long fight with federal officials to provide more than 90 percent of low-income New Jerseyans with the coverage they need.
Under the expansion, New Jersey will now be able to provide nearly 80 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries with medical coverage starting Jan. 1, 2019.
New Jersey is one of the few states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid, but Gov.
Chris Christie has sought to make the expansion a top priority in his second term, vowing to “put New Jersey on a path to become the next Massachusetts or Washington.”
“This is a huge step forward for New Jersey,” said Elizabeth Miller, executive director of the Center for New Community, a nonprofit advocacy group in New Jersey.
“It is a step toward making sure that people who need help, people who want to help, are going to get it,” she added.
The Medicaid expansion has become a top concern in the state, with Christie having threatened to veto the federal law, which requires states to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor and disabled, unless they also provide the same benefits to everyone else.
“I’m just so happy that New Jersey has decided to stand with our constituents and get it done,” Christie said at a news conference Thursday.
“It will make our Medicaid expansion even better, and it will also make it much easier to get a job, to pay for college, to get healthcare.”
In a statement, the New Jersey Republican Party praised the decision and said Christie would work with lawmakers to make sure that other states don’t lose the opportunity to join New Jersey in expanding their Medicaid programs.
“The Governor’s decision today is an affirmation of the work that New Jerseys residents have done to create and deliver affordable health coverage to all New Jersey residents,” said Eric T. Zegna, president of the New Jersey GOP.
“This decision sends a clear message to those who want a federal government takeover of New Jersey that we will stand with them, and will not be bullied into joining the federal government’s plan to dismantle our state’s health care system,” Zegina said.
Christie has said he’s open to negotiations with the Obama administration over a Medicaid expansion, but has signaled he might have to veto a bill if he doesn’t get the support of lawmakers.
New York and Connecticut also approved Medicaid expansions, with the New York Legislature backing the expansion in a referendum last week.
New Hampshire, which also approved an expansion in the referendum, also voted in favor of expanding Medicaid coverage, although it is unclear if the New Hampshire governor has given his backing.
In a sign of New York’s strong support for the expansion from lawmakers, Cuomo has indicated he’s still interested in negotiating with the administration on a broader expansion of Medicaid.
“We have reached out to the federal administration for an update on our discussions and are confident that a final solution will be reached,” Cuomo spokesman Michael Cusumano said in a statement.
Republican New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo speaks at a campaign event in New York City, New York, U.S., June 12, 2021.
Andrew M. Cuomo (R) has announced he’s not looking to negotiate with the federal health care law’s expansion, saying he wants to work with state lawmakers to “make sure we get it right.”
The New York governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
New Mexico and Arizona also voted to expand their Medicaid coverage.
New South Wales, which has a similar Medicaid expansion as New Jersey, approved a measure Thursday that expands eligibility for the state program for the working poor.
The expansion also extends to New Zealand, which is home to many New Zealand residents and has a strong track record of expanding programs.
The state has seen a large increase in the number of New Zealanders applying for Medicaid in recent years, and the state has had a hard time making sure the program covers everyone who qualifies.
The program, known as NSP, covers about 40 percent of New Zealander households and is expected to reach 60 percent of households by 2021.
New Zealanders currently are ineligible for the Medicaid expansion if they are currently receiving state benefits or the federal Government’s Supplemental Security Income program.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Christie said he is open to working with the feds to expand the program.
“That’s a good place to start,” he said.
“But I think the key here is that New York and New Jersey are going the right direction.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a campaign rally in North Port, New Hampshire, U .
S., May 10, 2021, ahead of the state Senate elections.
Christies comments came after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has called for a universal income to address the growing crisis of inequality, said he would be willing to talk with the Trump administration about a potential