Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Christie will expand Medicaid

The Star-Ledger reports that Chris Christie will join a growing group of GOP governors and support Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Chris Christie will expand the state's Medicaid program to cover 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents, The Star-Ledger learned today.

The governor's new budget, which he plans to unveil at joint session of the Legislature this afternoon, also relies on state revenue growth of 4.9 percent and delays some property tax rebates for local taxpayers, according to three sources with knowledge of the budget plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

As for his decision to expand Medicaid, the Republican governor, a critic of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, could reap up to $300 million by expanding the state program in the coming budget year.

For weeks, a coalition of labor, religious, family and consumer groups waged an aggressive letter-writing and media campaign encouraging Christie to expand the Medicaid program.

So here's another Christie stray from the conservative base, but there've been plenty of Republican governors who've recently given him cover for just such a move, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

And, anyway, it's not like Christie really needed much cover, since his national base is made up of moderate Republicans who won't be terribly bothered by this.

If you remember, polls already show that Christie gets the lion's share of his support from those calling themselves "moderate" or "liberal" Republicans, while doing just abysmally with national Republicans who identify themselves as "very conservative."

Nothing about this decision will dramatically affect those dynamics.

UPDATE: New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez announced last month that she'll also move forward with the expansion....