New Jersey’s two senators and the congressman New Jerseyans most closely associate with health care reform are joining forces to speak out against Governor Christie’s “draconian” cuts to Medicaid, which will result would result in the loss of medical care for tens of thousands of residents of their home state.
Christie has shown repeatedly that New Jerseyans falling through cracks are not high priority for him – low-income women and people suffering from pain or cancer can attest to that – but in this case the governor is actually widening those cracks.
More after the jump.
His proposals for NJ Family Care are alarming enough, they said. What Christie is now proposing is a drastic drop in the income eligibility limit for participating from around $2000 a month to just over $400/month, denying an additional 23,000 parents access to NJ FamilyCare next year. That’s in addition to last year’s eligibility changes.
Governor Christie’s plan to take health services away from New Jersey’s most vulnerable families is neither humane nor a cost effective way to save money. We need to make it easier for New Jerseyans to access health care services, not harder. Balancing the budget on the backs of low-income families is unacceptable and I will strongly oppose any proposal that targets the most hard pressed families in our state.
Menendez points out that leaves New Jerseyans waiting with no safety net until the bulk of the new health insurance law takes effect in 2014. No waiver for cancer. Diabetics are essentially being told to wait for 3 years. People will still have the same health threats , just without any coverage: “These are the very families I fought to protect in the CHIP reauthorization, and I hope the governor will reconsider before submitting the plan for approval.”
In NJ, 916,476 people are enrolled in either Medicaid or FamilyCare, including 668,315 kids. By shutting parents out last year, an estimated 18,000 eligible children didn’t participate either.
Pallone says FamilyCare has been both successful and a cost-effective means of keeping people healthy, and saving lives. Pallone authorized the federal law facilitating the creation of FamilyCare, which extends coverage to those outside income eligibility for Medicaid. And he warns that the costs will simply be shifted to emergency rooms and to uncompensated care, which means we will all pay anyway. And of course, as he points out, the heaviest cost is the human one.
As Think Progress reported, Gov. Christie thinks a family making $6,000 a year is too rich to qualify for Medicaid. And that’s in a state with among the highest cost-of-living in the country.