Health care exchange act vetoed

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the health care exchange act.

Christie today vetoed legislation that would have begun to establish a state-based health care exchange in New Jersey in line with the federal Affordable Care Act. 

This is the second time he has vetoed such a bill.

Previously, he did so because, in part, the Supreme Court hadn’t yet upheld the Act.

“We will comply with the Affordable Care Act,” Christie said in a release, “but only in the most efficient and cost effective way for New Jersey taxpayers. Such an important decision as how to best move forward for New Jerseyans can only be understood and reasonably made when fairly and fully compared to the overall value of the other options. Until the federal government gives us all the necessary information, any other action than this would be fiscally irresponsible.

“Thus far, we lack such critical information from the federal government. I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a State-based Exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options, and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state’s taxpayers.”

The exchange is designed to help, for example, smaller businesses provide affordable care, but Christie listed several concerns:

In addition to the unknown cost and operation of a State-based Exchange, Governor Christie also cited the following areas or issues of other Exchange implementation options that lack complete information:

  • Costs in Federally Facilitated or Partnership Exchanges: While “user fees” paid by insurers have been identified as a financing mechanism for Federally Facilitated or Partnership Exchanges, only late last week did the federal government offer a preliminary glimpse as to what those costs might include. Questions linger on the sharing of user-fees in Partnership Exchanges.
  • Federal Exchange Operations: The federal government has yet to present a structured blueprint for the design and operation of a Federally Facilitated Exchange and the technical details for its linkage to each state.
  • Federal Rulemaking: The last several weeks have triggered a restart of proposed federal regulations relating to the Affordable Care Act, guidance has come from Washington at an erratic pace, and there exists no predictable plan for future rulemaking.
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