New Jersey backs off Medicaid cuts

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 26, 2011

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie removed proposed Medicaid cuts and co-payments from a Medicaid waiver request after an uproar from Democrats, consumer advocates and others.

The state will maintain Medicaid eligibility for parents -- up to 133% of the federal poverty level -- under a revised waiver proposal the New Jersey Dept. of Human Services submitted on Sept. 9 to federal Medicaid officials. The state also will scrap a $25 hospital emergency department co-pay initially proposed for nonemergency conditions.

"This waiver reflects months of constructive and thoughtful collaboration among stakeholders and consumers," New Jersey Dept. of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez said in a Sept. 12 statement. "The final product rebalances the system to generate greater flexibility, increase choices and expand services for those who need it most."

The state had considered asking the federal government for permission to reduce Medicaid eligibility for parents to 27.5% of the federal poverty level, or $5,100 for a family of three, according to details the agency released in early June.

The state anticipates that Medicaid physician fees will increase as it moves more Medicaid enrollees into managed care. These plans are expected to pay physicians more than the existing average Medicaid fee-for-service rate of 41% of Medicare rates, according to the waiver proposal.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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