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Assembly Democratic Sponsors of Bill to Expand Women’s Health Services Saddened by Governor’s Continued Obstinacy

The Assembly Democratic sponsors – Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Celeste Riley, Pamela Lampitt and Linda Stender – of a bill that would require New Jersey to apply for a federal Medicaid funding match to support women’s health care and family planning services cited the Governor’s veto today as a direct attack on low-income women and their families.

“If this is truly an economic issue as the Governor has maintained, then we should be taking advantage of every available federal resources,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “With his veto pen, the Governor has made it clear that this decision isn’t based on finances, but ideology.”

“It’s unconscionable that the Governor would leave this money sitting on the table when family planning centers throughout the state are being forced to close or turn patients away,” said Riley (D-Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester). “At least now he leaves no question about where low and middle income women rank on his scale of importance.”

“It is truly sad that the Governor would choose to forego this money when our unemployment rate is still hovering near record levels and women are in dire of need of these healthcare services now more than ever,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “This legislation was a fiscally prudent endeavor to provide critical health care access for women and families across New Jersey who have seen these services decimated by the Governor’s budget.”

“Emperor Christie has no clothes. On one hand he says he’s not opposed to birth control, but yet he shows up at a rally last week and joins a group speaking against women being trusted to make their own decisions about their reproductive health care. He has also said that this issue is purely about money we don’t have, but all this bill would have done is leveraged the money already being spent in our Medicaid budget to obtain additional federal dollars to expand access to healthcare services for low-income women,” said Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union).

The legislation (A3273) vetoed today would have directed the state to submit the necessary application to the federal government so that New Jersey’s Medicaid program can offer family planning services to individuals with incomes of up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, rather than only to individuals meeting the income cap of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level under the current state plan. States exercising this option would receive $9 in federal reimbursement for every $1 they spend for family planning services.

The legislation was intended to help offset a portion of the $7.5 million in women’s health and family planning funding that the Governor vetoed earlier this year, funding that would have helped provide roughly 136,000 women and families with critical health services.