New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie backs Medicaid expansion

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has become the latest big-name Republican governor to amend his stance on the reform law's Medicaid expansion, agreeing last week to accept federal dollars to open the program to more state residents.

But despite falling in line with most of his Democratic counterparts, Christie stressed that his decision doesn't mean he has completely reversed his opinion of the reform law overall, the New York Times reported.

"Let me be clear: I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act," Christie said Tuesday during his annual budget speech. "I fought against it and believe, in the long run, it will not achieve what it promises. However, it is now the law of the land."

And Christie practically threatened to pull the plug on enlarging Medicaid if conditions change, saying he would "end it as quickly as it started" if the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services makes any "adverse" changes to the program, according to a Star-Ledger article.

Expanding the state-federal insurance program in New Jersey would help an additional 100,000 to 300,000 people receive coverage out of the roughly 1.3 million uninsured residents and save about $227 million a year, reported the Associated Press.

With the announcement, New Jersey became the eighth GOP-led state to agree to enlarge the program, following Florida Gov. Rick Scott's recent acceptance of the Medicaid expansion.

Meanwhile, California Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Obama administration for broader leeway to control costs for the Medicaid program, FierceHealthFinance reported last week--a call for flexibility that's being echoed by other governors.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article
- check out the Star-Ledger article
- see the Associated Press article

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