In his budget address to the legislature, Governor Chris Christie announced that New Jersey would participate in an expansion of Medicaid as part of Affordable Care Act known to most people as Obamacare.
In his address, Christie stated, “Let me be clear, I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act. I think it is wrong for New Jersey and for America. I fought against it and believe, in the long run, it will not achieve what it promises. However, it is now the law of the land.”
Can you identify the logical fallacies in the governor’s remarks? The governor asserts he opposed Obamacare but now supports its expansion. The governor asserts Obamancare is wrong but embraces a main feature of the program, expanding Medicaid. The governor believes expanding Medicaid will not achieve its goals but will support expanding it in New Jersey. The governor acknowledges Obamacare is the law of the land and he will obey it even though he claims it is a bad deal. In short, the governor has accepted the old adage, “we are from the government and we are here to help you.”
In addition, the governor is throwing out his “principles” to placate whom? The editorial writers? The Democrats? Voters who support Medicaid’s expansion? And with the governor’s gubernatorial campaign underway, Christie has made a calculated, some would say political, decision to protect his left flank by not giving presumptive democratic gubernatorial candidate, Barbara Buono, an issue to pound the governor with during the campaign, failing to expand the welfare state.
After the budget address, the governor’s spin-doctors were congratulating him for being “practical.” This is a code word not being guided by a deeply held principle, but seeing which way the political winds are blowing in the upcoming election.
Moreover, at first blush, the governor’s decision seems like a wise one for 300,000 uninsured New Jerseyans. But this begs the question: who will treat the newly enrolled New Jerseyans? And how will the federal government pay for the new enrollees inasmuch as the federal government will pick up 100% of the tab for the first three years and then 90% per year thereafter. But what if the federal government changes the funding formula in the future? Then what?
The federal government is broke, running nearly a trillion dollar deficit this year and trillions in red ink over the next ten years. So how can the federal government expand Medicaid while it is a financial basket case? And why will doctors accept more Medicaid patients given the low reimbursement rate they receive from the feds?
If the people of New Jersey want to help their fellow low-income neighbors obtain medical care, they should mobilize in their communities to create nonprofit medical center like BVMI in Bergen County, or the Zarephath Health Center in Somerset County or the Parker Family Health Center in Red Bank.
In his budget address, Governor Christie ignored the right approach to dealing with the uninsured, the nonprofit solution. But then again that would mean calling for the slow dismantling of the expensive failure known as the welfare state. Apparently Governor Christie would rather embrace the welfare state than promote a low cost nongovernmental solution to provide health care for the uninsured.