Sweeney & Pou Secure Agreement to Include Medicaid Eligibility in State Health Exchange – Senate Votes To Approve Revised Bill

Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Nellie Pou issued the following statement on the amendment to legislation establishing a state health exchange after securing an agreement from the governor to accept their Medicaid eligibility provision. The Senate voted to adopt the amendment and to approve the legislation.

“We acted to amend the legislation today to include Medicaid eligibility because we secured an agreement with the Governor that he will accept this change. This is a significant improvement that will create an integrated exchange to automatically enroll those who are eligible for Medicaid with a single process.

“An integrated exchange enables the state to meet the needs of multiple programs with one system that ensures people get the coverage they qualify for, that streamlines the process, eliminates delays and will generate additional federal funds to help offset operational costs. The integrated exchange will determine Medicaid eligibility without redirecting applicants to the separate Family Care Program.

“We have always been committed to establishing a federal exchange but it is important that it is done right and that we prevent the types of problems experienced by the federal exchange when it was launched. It is more important that we do it right than to do it hurriedly.

“Now that the governor has committed to adopting the Medicaid eligibility amendment, we can move forward. We amended the bill today and then voted to approve it. Because of this agreement, the state can follow through with the administrative process to create the exchange.

“We want to make sure that we are creating an effective health insurance exchange that protects consumers and helps to ensure access to quality health care for everyone in New Jersey.”

The vote on the bill (A-5499/S-49/S-3807) was 24-12.