New Jersey would save more than $6 billion in healthcare spending over the next nine years, if Gov. Chris Christie opts to expand Medicaid eligibility, according to a report released by a think tank yesterday.
“I would say that’s a no-brainer, that there’s no reason not to do this,” says NJPP’s David Rousseau. He adds the federal government would kick in between $100 million and $200 million that the state is on track to spend on FamilyCare in the upcoming budget year. Again, those numbers only work if Christie chooses to expand Medicaid.
If the governor opts for expanded eligibility, the feds will cover 100 percent of the costs of both General Assistance and FamilyCare from 2014 to 2016, with the state share gradually rising to 10 percent by 2020.
As NJ Spotlight notes, if Christie decides against the expansion, he could reduce spending on these current programs in another way: by eliminating them. The state could also try to negotiate continued federal funding for the two programs, but it’s not clear whether the federal government will be willing to aid a state that’s refused expansion.
“If we don’t do Medicaid expansion, FamilyCare is at tremendous risk,” Rousseau says.
NJPP’s Raymond Castro adds that while he’s concerned that Christie would consider cutting the programs, he would be surprised if the governor did that.
“He could continue to serve the people they serve now, plus get the savings,” Castro said. “It would just be draconian” to cut the programs.
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