KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

N.J.’s Christie Joins Ranks Of GOP Govs To Opt To Expand Medicaid

The decision by Gov. Chris Christie would provide health insurance to an estimated 104,000 of the poorest 1.3 million uninsured residents of the state. With this move, Christie follows other Republican governors who were staunch opponents of the health law, including Ohio's John Kasich and Florida's Rick Scott.

The New York Times: Christie Says He'll Take U.S. Money To Expand Medicaid
The expansion, which the governor described in his annual budget address to the Legislature, would provide health insurance to 104,000 of the poorest 1.3 million residents currently living without it, though some groups say the number could be higher. Mr. Christie emphasized that it was a financial decision, not a philosophical shift; if New Jersey did not take the money, he said, the federal government would give it to other states (Zernike, 2/26).

Politico: Chris Christie Takes Obamacare Medicaid Expansion
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie threw his support behind Medicaid expansion under the president’s health care law Tuesday, becoming the eighth GOP governor to buck his party and align himself with President Barack Obama on the issue…Medicaid expansion starting next year would extend coverage to an estimated 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents. The federal government fully funds the expansion for three years, after which the state contribution gradually rises to 10 percent (Cheney, 2/26).

Politico: Chris Christie's Obamacare Move Risky For 2016 Election
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie's reversal on accepting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion was a political no-brainer for a politician running for re-election in a blue state this year. But the move has uncertain implications for Christie as a potential 2016 contender who is already taking darts from some conservatives over his bona fides (Haberman and Nather, 2/26).

The Associated Press: Christie's $32.9B NJ Budget Expands Medicaid
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie proposed a $32.9 billion budget Tuesday that allows more poor residents to enroll in Medicaid and increases public school aid but defers property tax rebates for three months to cover a projected budget shortfall. Christie, a possible Republican presidential contender in 2016 who is seeking a second term as governor in November, touted the budget as a blueprint that seeks fiscal stability without forgetting about the state's most vulnerable residents. The Democratic-led Legislature must approve the plan (Santi, 2/26).

The Washington Post's WonkBlog: Report: Chris Christie Will Support Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion
Taken together, these eight states will extend Obamacare's coverage expansion to 3.2 million Americans, according to this analysis from the Urban Institute. They will take in a cumulative $90 billion in federal funds to do so. The quick succession of governors to come out in favor of this part of the Affordable Care Act suggests that, when it comes to the Medicaid expansion, the lure of federal dollars may trump anti-Obamacare politics (Kliff, 2/26).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Christie Bucks GOP, Accepts Medicaid Funds
Despite his opposition to President Obama's health-care overhaul, Gov. Christie said Tuesday that New Jersey would take money from the Affordable Care Act to extend Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of low-income individuals. In accepting the expansion, Christie, who is up for reelection this year, joined seven other Republican governors in bucking a GOP trend aimed at countering a key element of what is known as Obamacare. Fourteen Republican governors, including Gov. Corbett, have rejected expanding Medicaid in their states. Overall, 24 states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the expansion. Christie announced his acceptance in an address to the Legislature outlining a $32.9 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 (Gambardello, 2/27).

CNN: Christie Johns GOP Governors In Accepting Obama's Medicaid Expansion
The expansion of Medicaid included in President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law was accepted by an eighth Republican governor Tuesday, despite the GOP's fierce opposition to the law as a whole. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, explaining he was aiming to put "people first," announced his support for the expansion of Medicaid as he outlined his budget in front of the New Jersey state legislature. He becomes the eighth GOP governor to sign on to the plan, which has also been rejected by some high-profile state chief executives still at odds with the politically charged law known as Obamacare. Many Republicans view parts of the bill, including its individual requirement to obtain health insurance, as government overreach (2/26).  

Also, Politico offers a big-picture look at how opposition to the law is changing --

Politico: The Repeal Obamacare Chorus Quiets
Washington's repeal-Obamacare crowd is feeling a little lonely these days, abandoned by an increasing number of Republicans who have bowed to the political reality that the law isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (Haberkorn and Allen, 2/27).

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