TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie today vetoed legislation that would have begun to establish a state-based health care exchange in New Jersey in line with the federal Affordable Care Act.
The creation of health care exchanges is provided for in the Affordable Care Act as the vehicle for eligible individuals and businesses to access care, with three exchange options being given to states: Federally Facilitated, Partnership, or State-based. The governor said that federal officials have failed to provide critical information about the operation and implementation of each of the three health insurance exchange options provided to states.
“We will comply with the Affordable Care Act, but only in the most efficient and cost effective way for New Jersey taxpayers,” Christie said. “Such an important decision as how to best move forward for New Jerseyans can only be understood and reasonably made when fairly and fully compared to the overall value of the other options. Until the federal government gives us all the necessary information, any other action than this would be fiscally irresponsible. Thus far, we lack such critical information from the federal government. I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a state-based exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options, and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state’s taxpayers.”
“Financing the building and implementation of a state-based exchange would be an extraordinarily costly endeavor,” continued Governor Christie. “While the federal governmental has enabled states to apply for grant funding to cover some of the initial costs of such an endeavor, the total price for such a program has never been quantified, and is likely to be onerous. Without knowing the full scope of which exchange option would be most beneficial and cost efficient for New Jerseyans, it would be irresponsible to force such a bill on our citizens.”
It’s not clear what the governor’s decision means for New Jersey. Dec. 14 is the deadline for states to decide whether to establish a state-based exchange.
Primary sponsors of the vetoed bill include Senators Nia Gill and Joseph Vitale and Assemblymembers Upendra Chivukula, Herb Conaway, Ruben Ramos, and Troy Singleton.
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