Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-Bergen/Hudson) today called the Christie administration’s Medicaid proposals impractical and inhumane after listening to budget testimony on yet another one of the Governor’s disastrous policy attacks on New Jersey’s working poor families.
“The Governor would prefer to give tax breaks to dead millionaires while gutting women’s health funding, scaling back reimbursements for Federally Qualified Health Centers and slashing Medicaid coverage for the working poor. This approach is impractical at best and inhumane at worst.
“One of the more concerning aspects of this proposal is to charge a $25 co-pay for Medicaid clients who use an emergency room for a non-emergent event. While the theory behind this has some merit, there are serious practicality issues.
“The heart of the problems lies with the ambiguity in defining an ’emergency.’ The administration needs to provide answers as to how this will be defined and by whom.
“Many insurers use admission to the hospital as an indicator of a true emergency. However, there are many events which reasonable people would consider an emergency, even though in hindsight it turns out not to be.
“For example, it’s midnight and a parent has a six month old child with a high fever. The client goes to the emergency room to find it is not a significant health event and the child is fine. However, the cause of the fever could very easily have been something as severe as pneumonia or spinal meningitis.
“What if this co-pay dissuades many people from seeking treatment because of their inability to afford it? What are the health care costs of delayed treatment for pneumonia or spinal meningitis? More importantly, what are the human costs of delayed treatment?
“These are all answers the administration needs to provide us with.”