NJ Governor Vetoes Health Exchange

December 14, 2012

Late last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the legislation that would establish a state-run health insurance exchange, claiming that the federal government didn’t provide the information he needed in order to ensure that the way his state complies with the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is financially sound.

Despite this, Governor Christie insists that he hasn’t actually eliminated any of the available options for said compliance.

In a press conference about the veto, Christie said, “New Jersey and all other states still await substantial federal guidance on the functioning of all three types of exchanges. To be sure, the decision of whether to move forward with a state-based exchange can only be fully understood when competitively compared to the overall value of the other options.”

Under the terms of the Act, state had until today (December 14th) to determine whether or not they would establish their own exchanges. Once that decision is made, they have more time to determine if the state will run the exchange or if they will cede control to the federal government.

Governor Christie said it would be irresponsible to decide which option to choose without knowing how much each option would cost his state, which is still seeking aid made necessary by the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

Under ObamaCare, each state would have a health insurance exchange – an online marketplace where uninsured people can shop for the health insurance coverage made mandatory by the Act.

Governor Christie’s veto did not come without criticism.

Jeff Brown, Policy and Communications Coordinator for a government watchdog organization, NJ Citizen Action, told the press, “The New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange Act would have provided a consumer and patient friendly framework for our state’s health insurance exchange, expanded access to affordable private insurance to 400,000 New Jersey residents, and allowed New Jersey to control its own destiny in implementing the Affordable Care Act.”

Brown continued, “New Jersey has always been a leader in health reform and we believe this veto was step backward in that regard.”