year 2016 budget allots $148 million
less for charity care, largely because
there are now fewer uninsured in the
state’s hospitals and emergency rooms.
The state will also spend $417 million
less on covering the newly eligible
Medicaid beneficiaries themselves,
thanks to the federal government’s
pledge to pick up 100 percent of the
extra coverage cost. (For existing
beneficiaries, the state will continue to
receive the pre-Obamacare matching
rate of 50 percent.)
Washington will continue to foot
the entire bill for expanded coverage through 2016, when it will begin
picking up no less than 90 percent of
the cost on a permanent basis. Estimates are this cost sharing will save
New Jersey nearly $3 billion through
2020, according to documents from the
state's Department of Human Services
Division of Management and Budget.
What of Obamacare’s future in New
Jersey and beyond?
This summer’s 6-to- 3 Supreme
Court ruling upholding subsidies
for all eligible beneficiaries—not
just those in states with their own
healthcare exchanges—has cleared
the legal minefield, at least for now.
In early September, though, a federal
judge allowed a suit by the U.S. House
of Representatives against the Obama
Administration’s implementation of
the law to proceed. Of course, a future
GOP president could try to rally support in Congress to amend the law,
though killing it outright is considered unlikely.
Still, many observers are optimistic
that Obamacare will continue to function
as designed. “The ACA has led to a major
expansion of health insurance coverage
in New Jersey and many other states,”
says Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s
Hempstead. “We all know there are detractors who would like to reverse or greatly
limit many of these changes. Despite this,
it is essential that we promote affordability
and support consumer decision-making in
order to maintain a transparent and competitive insurance market that serves New
Jerseyans for years to come.” ;
Wayne Guglielmo reports on health care
issues for New Jersey Monthly.
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