New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, touted as a GOP candidate for president in 2016, could not resist the opportunity to embrace Medicaid expansion.
He put the health and welfare of his state ahead of pleasing the predictable critics. A laudable act.
Christie becomes the eighth Republican to expand Medicaid via President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Last week Florida Gov. Rick Scott made the same call. The list also includes Rhode Gov. Lincoln Chaffee, an Independent.
Christie expressed the apparently obligatory doubts about the Affordable Care Act as he grabbed the Medicaid expansion dollars. More than 100,000 New Jersey residents will have access to health care in 2014, and the state will save tens of billions of dollars. Local hospitals and clinics will also get relief.
The move was warmly received in his home state, but it cost him politically elsewhere.. The American Conservative Union declined to include him on its list of convention speakers for 2013. Christie had already miffed conservatives with his compliments for Obama’s management of relief for Hurricane Sandy. Some of those kind words came before the November election.
New Jersey was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and now the federal budget sequester is about to pummel the state. If the sequester plays out, New Jersey stands to lose $3 billion in federal relief.