[OPINION] Failing To Expand Medicaid Will Cost Us All

No one likes to wait in line–especially in an emergency.

If Medicaid isn’t expanded to cover the over 300,000 uninsured New Jerseyans who qualify, hospitals will continue to get stuck with the bill. The State reimburses hospitals for these charity care costs but not 100%. Not even close. And without the expansion of Medicaid coverage in NJ, which AARP supports, these unpaid costs to hospitals will just get worse, costing hospitals and state taxpayers even more. The Federal government has offered to pay almost all the Medicaid expansion cost. State taxpayers will continue to be stuck with yet more charity care costs if Gov. Christie decides not to accept the federal funding for Medicaid expansion. And these uninsured New Jerseyans will continue to be forced to use hospital emergency rooms for all of their health care needs, which could affect quality of care and ER costs for everyone.

We all want to know that when we really need to get emergency care in our local hospital, it will be there for us. We shouldn’t have to face a line of people with medical problems that could have been prevented if they’d had access to affordable health care coverage through Medicaid before requiring emergency room care.

Sharon Kern

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