Courtesy of Brookings Institute
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a strong reaction Monday to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act two weeks ago. Referring to the Supreme Court opinion to allow states to opt out of the legislation’s Medicaid expansion, Christie said he was “glad that the Supreme Court ruled extortion is still illegal.”“That’s a relief because Obamacare on Medicaid to the states was extortion,” Christie said during a discussion at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. on Monday. “Essentially said, ‘You expand your program to where we tell you, and if you don’t, we’re taking all the rest of your money away.’ Well, that’s extortion! It was in a whole bunch of nice words in a bill, but it was extortion.
“So, I’m really glad that a majority of the Supreme Court still supports the position — as a former prosecutor — that extortion is still illegal in a country, even when it’s done by the President of the United States.”
Christie, who is often mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney, didn’t say whether he would opt out of the Medicaid expansion, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry did on Monday. He said the state would likely wait until January 2013 to decide, since it will only affect the state’s 2013 and 2014 fiscal-year budgets.
The Affordable Care Act would have forced states to provide Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes of up to 133 per cent of the federal poverty level or lose federal funding for the program. The Supreme Court’s decision leaves it up to states to decide. So far along with Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Louisiana have said they will opt out of the Medicaid expansion — all states with Republican governors.
Christie also said that New Jersey has the second-most expensive Medicaid program, and didn’t see much room in the budget for an expansion.
“How much more do we really need to expand our program?” he said.
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