To the dismay of many Gov. Chris Christie has announced he will not set up a state-run marketplace for health insurance in New Jersey. He just vetoed Senate Bill 2135 which would establish a N. J. health exchange. He cites unknown cost concerns and other uncertainties a la ARC tunnel.
He continues to view with benign (or malign) neglect the plight of the uninsured. Ironically, for a conservative, who believes the State knows best, he is surrendering New Jersey’s ability to set up an exchange as it sees best. Instead some federal/state collaboration or exclusively federal operation will be imposed. In his veto message he does not address what he will do regarding Medicaid expansion, which is part of the Affordable Care Act.
This may represent a surrender on Christie’s part to the NJ health insurers who prefer the general federal guidelines rather than the more consumer-friendly requirements which other NJ groups have been urging.
He somewhat vaguely leaves open the possibility of reconsidering his decision later. However, his veto of the bill is absolute. He faced a deadline to tell the federal government whether NJ would set up its own health exchange, and his response sadly was “No.”