Chris Christie rejects ObamaCare state exchange

Chris Christie

With the mid-December deadline looming, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is riding good post-Sandy poll numbers, has vetoed legislation that would have implemented ObamaCare’s health insurance exchange, citing the potential cost to taxpayers:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rejected a state-run health insurance exchange Thursday, paving the way for the federal government to step in and run one.

Christie — who was in Washington on Thursday pushing for Hurricane Sandy aid — rejected a bill passed by the Democratic state Legislature that would have built an exchange, a key part of the president’s health care law that makes available subsidies to help low- and middle-income individuals purchase coverage in new health insurance markets starting in 2014.

Echoing complaints from other Republican governors who have declined to build the key component of the president’s health law, Christie stressed unanswered questions and potential costs.

“We will comply with the Affordable Care Act but only in the most efficient and cost-effective way for New Jersey taxpayers,” he said in a statement.

But he said the federal government hasn’t told states what they need to make the assessment.

“Thus far, we lack such critical information from the federal government. I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a state-based exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state’s taxpayers.”

The original deadline was November 16th, but it was extended to give states considering the state exchanges more time to make a decision. Twenty-two states have, as of this morning, opted out of the state exchanges, the cost of which to these already cash-strapped states will be anywhere from $10 to $100 million.

Before the Supreme Court ruling this summer, Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, explained why the exchanges are a terrible idea and how states can limit the impact of the law by refusing to participate:

Medicaid expansion, another part of ObamaCare, will also significantly impact state budgets. However, the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare gave states the ability to opt-out of both the exchanges and Medicare.

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