Christie’s Medicaid proposal called the wrong prescription for New Jersey

Source: NJ
A proposal by Gov. Christie to sharply limit federal health care funding under Medicaid would come at a great price to New Jersey’s taxpayers and hit the state’s economy hard with the loss of thousands of jobs, according to a report released recently by New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP).
The governor’s proposal – known as a Medicaid per capita cap – would result in the loss of $15.1 billion in federal funding for New Jersey over eight years, according to NJPP’s analysis.

The state would be forced to offset this enormous loss by terminating insurance coverage for many, reducing benefits, increasing the co-pays to those still eligible, reducing already low reimbursement rates to providers, cutting other essential state services, raising additional revenue or, probably, some combination.

“Capping Medicaid simply transfers major federal costs to the state – and everyone in New Jersey would pay for it,” says NJPP senior policy analyst and report author Raymond Castro. “The elderly and disabled are the most vulnerable because they rely so much on Medicaid for their critical care, but such major cuts threaten all New Jerseyans.”
“What’s worse,” says Castro, “these drastic cuts are not even necessary because, as we’ve shown here in New Jersey, Medicaid services can indeed be made more efficient without threatening the quality of care.”
New Jersey has more to lose than most states because it has many vulnerable residents and thus receives the 10th largest amount of federal Medicaid funding in the nation.
Christie is not alone in making proposals that would cost New Jerseyans vital health care assistance. Congress is simultaneously pursuing equally damaging cuts in the federal budget.
As this report makes clear, any significant cuts such as this would harm New Jersey’s budget, its low-income residents and its economy while reversing the progress the state has made in recent years thanks to the Medicaid expansion.
But Christie’s damaging federal plans do not end with the Medicaid cap. Under other proposals he’s unveiled, New Jersey would lose billions more in federal funding. These additional cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid would hit New Jerseyans especially hard since they will in large measure be based on income, and New Jersey has the highest per capita income in the nation.

The governor also proposes raising the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare beginning in 2022. This would hit New Jersey harder than any other state, because Garden State retirees receive the highest benefit levels in the nation.

“New Jersey already receives less federal aid for the federal taxes it pays than any other state,” says NJPP president Gordon MacInnes. “One would trust that a New Jersey governor, as president, would do his best to not make that situation worse. Alas, Gov. Christie appears to have put the appetites of Republican primary voters ahead of New Jersey’s obvious needs.”

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