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Vitale Statement On Proposed Christie Medicaid Cuts

Says Cost of Care for Uninsured Will Increase Elsewhere

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the vice chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, issued the following statement about reports that Governor Christie may try to balance the FY 2012 State Budget by cutting Medicaid health care services and New Jersey’s Family Care program for working New Jerseyans and children:

“While I recognize that the Governor and the Legislature must make difficult decisions within the upcoming budget process, we must all remain fully aware that cuts in services and eligibility of these life-sustaining programs will have a devastating impact on the well-being of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans.

“Cutting these programs shifts the burden of the budget deficit onto people who have little or no ability to afford the cost of necessary medical care. Not only would this create a health care catastrophe, it will drive up costs for our already ailing hospital system and increase health care premiums for those already insured.

“Multiple studies have shown that the most cost-effective model of health care is one in which people regularly see a primary care physician to maintain their health, rather than respond to an episodic health crisis. Any cut to Medicaid and Family Care not only makes no policy sense – it also makes no fiscal sense.

“I will work with the Governor and my colleagues to make sure that our health care safety net is the most cost-effective system in the nation, and that public funding – both Federal and State – is spent in a manner that is efficient and effective. However, I will oppose at every turn cutting benefits for people who have nowhere else to turn. It’s bad health policy, it’s bad fiscal policy, and it unfairly places the burden of budget deficits on the backs of people who can least afford it.”

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