Governor Christie issued an absolute veto of Assembly Bill 3273, a bill that would have worsened the considerable financial issues facing New Jersey’s Medicaid program and undermined the fiscal year 2011 budget agreement enacted in June. In a bipartisan agreement with the legislature, Governor Christie closed an unprecedented $11 billion deficit without raising taxes, while still protecting funding for health care services for New Jersey’s women and children and low-income families.
The New Jersey Medicaid program faces a huge budget shortfall of nearly $1.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2012 due to the loss of nearly $1 billion dollars in non-recurring federal stimulus funding and a continued "maintenance of effort" requirement for that funding mandated by the Federal government both as a condition of taking stimulus funds and as part of the federal health care reform law.
"This bill would exacerbate that dramatic budget gap by expanding the Medicaid program and increasing Medicaid costs completely outside the State’s annual budget process," said Governor Christie. "It would be financially irresponsible to increase Medicaid costs and expand Medicaid eligibility in the face of such a serious deficit in the Medicaid program and the ongoing budgetary challenges faced by the state generally.