New Jersey seeks waiver for huge cut in Medicaid rolls

New Jersey has asked the Obama Administration for a waiver to obtain huge cuts in its Medicaid rolls, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.
The proposal, floated by Gov. Chris Christie, would slash the maximum annual income for eligibility from $24,465 for a family of three to $5,317. The proposal is part of a promise from Christie to voters that he would trim $300 million from the Medicaid program.

"That means that an uninsured parent working full time at a minimum-wage job wouldn't be eligible. ... A parent who works half-time for minimum wage wouldn't even qualify," said Ray Castro, a senior analyst for the New Jersey Policy perspective, a regional think tank.

About 916,000 people were enrolled in the state's Medicaid or CHIP program, of which 668,000 are children. The latter group would not lose coverage under the proposal.

Democratic lawmakers said the change would flood hospitals with charity cases.

"I can't imagine how it could be any worse," said Sen. Joseph Vitale, whose legislation created New Jersey's CHIP program in 1998. "I guess they could freeze enrollment for children, but that would only buy them a ticket to hell.''

For more information:
- read the Star-Ledger article
- read the Wall Street Journal article