As the Legislature cast the final vote today to create a health exchange — an online marketplace where hundreds of thousands of residents would shop for insurance — supporters of the bill urged Gov. Chris Christie to stop stalling and embrace the reforms Congress approved more than two years ago.
The Ledger reports that New Jersey has so far received only $7.6 million to help create the exchange; NJPP senior policy analyst Raymond Castro tells the paper that, in contrast, New York has received $154 million from the federal government to start up an exchange, and Connecticut $115 million.
“We need to move quickly on the exchange, because if we don’t, we will be serving a lot fewer people,” says Castro, who estimates the exchange could provide insurance for nearly 500,000 people by 2017. “A huge amount of work needs to be done,” including hiring community agencies to publicize and explain how the program will work, he notes.
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