GREENWALD, QUIJANO, DeANGELO MEASURE OPPOSING CHRISTIE CUTS TO HEALTH CARE FOR WORKING POOR PASSES LEGISLATURE

The full Assembly on Wednesday approved a measure sponsored by Assembly members Lou Greenwald, Annette Quijano and Wayne DeAngelo that calls on the federal government to reject the Christie administration’s proposals to limit health care access to some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable families.

“These proposals contain several unconscionable and short-sighted changes to programs that will have an adverse effect on access to health care for many of our low-income families and on the health care delivery system in New Jersey as a whole,” said Greenwald (D-Camden), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.

The measure (ACR-198), approved by a vote of 46-32, urges the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reject the administration’s proposal to make significant changes in the Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare programs.

The measure is also expected to be approved by the Senate today.

“It’s estimated that in the upcoming budget year, a staggering 93,000 low-income parents will be denied health care coverage if this eligibility change is implemented,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Once again, this is an example of the administration attempting to balance the budget on the backs of the working poor, something we simply cannot allow.”

Specifically, the resolution urges the feds to reject provisions in the administration’s proposed Medicaid Comprehensive Waiver application that would reduce income eligibility limits for parents in NJ FamilyCare, reduce Medicaid provider reimbursements, reduce the duration and scope of services and increase co-pays. The resolution also urges the rejection of any federal cap on Medicaid spending.

“Time and again, this administration has asked the least fortunate among us to sacrifice the most,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “These changes stop just short of dismantling this important safety net. If sacrifices are to be made to balance this budget, they need to be fair and equal, not a constant attack on the working poor.”

The most significant and troubling proposal is a freeze on enrollment for all adult parents whose income exceeds the state’s Aid to Families with Dependent Children eligibility limit, which limit is less than 30% of the federal poverty level. A family of three would only qualify for NJ FamilyCare if their annual income did not exceed $5,316.

Copies of the resolution, signed by the Senate President and the Assembly Speaker, will be transmitted to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.