Skip to main content

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives a news conference in Trenton January 9, 2014. Christie on Thursday fired a top aide at the center of a brewing scandal that public officials orchestrated a massive traffic snarl on the busy George Washington Bridge
Gov. Chris Christie's administration has lost out on big federal dollars again, this time losing the state $7.67 million in Obamacare grants because Christie changed his mind about setting up a health insurance exchange in the state after the grant to do so had been made.
The state received the grant in February 2012 for use in building a state insurance exchange. After Gov. Chris Christie announced a year later that the state would opt for a federal insurance marketplace, rather than a state-run one, state and federal officials began discussions about how the money could be spent.

Yesterday was the deadline for the state to come up with an acceptable plan for using the money. [...]

Federal officials would have approved a range of uses for the grant, including marketing the insurance marketplace to the public, a use supported by a coalition of advocates for expanding healthcare access, as well as by the state’s Democratic members of Congress and the Legislature.

Raymond J. Castro, senior policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, said [Department of Banking and Insurance] officials failed to make significant changes in its plans for the grant months after they knew the federal government wouldn’t approve the plans. [...]

“We have reached out to the state numerous times over the last few months in order to avoid a last minute scramble, but unfortunately the state has yet to send us a request to re-scope their grant for any allowable activities,” [HHS spokesman Fabien] Levy wrote in an emailed response to questions.

All of the proposals the state submitted for using the money were not allowed under the regulations guiding the release of the grant money, with the state's final proposal being rejected in December. Christie's administration didn't want to use the money for what it was intended—expanding outreach to the state's uninsured. That, policy analyst Castro estimates, could have brought in 95,000 additional uninsured New Jerseyans.

This could be another instance in which Christie's too-cute politics ends up hurting his state. He was roundly criticized by conservatives for accepting the Medicaid expansion, and maybe to appease some of those far-right critics, ended up changing his mind about setting up a state exchange, burdening the Obama administration with having to add one more state. Now he can point to his administration's refusal to use the grant money to bolster enrollments in Obamacare as his bit to sabotage the law. And to keep 95,000 of his uninsured constituents in the dark about their new opportunity to get covered.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 10:12 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site