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The Costs of Cutting Health Care: An Analysis of Recent Changes to New Jersey FamilyCare

Kalyani Thampi

Title:
The Costs of Cutting Health Care: An Analysis of Recent Changes to New Jersey FamilyCare
Author(s):
Thampi, Kalyani
Date:
Type:
Reports
Department:
National Center for Children in Poverty
Permanent URL:
Publisher:
Columbia University. National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Publisher Location:
New York
Abstract:
Across the country, states grapple with the reality of unflagging unemployment and weak revenues. Fiscal prudence competes with an unprecedented need for public services as poverty rates continue to rise. In 2010, 15.4 percent of children living in poverty were uninsured, yet Medicaid has taken primacy over other public programs being targeted for cuts. New Jersey serves as an example of the challenging fiscal environment in which critical programs operate across states. Although Governor Christie recently revoked his initial proposal to drastically reduce parents' enrollment in New Jersey FamilyCare (the state's public health insurance program), it does not seem likely that he will amend the 2010 cuts, which reduced income eligibility levels for parents from 200 percent to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Cutting Medicaid would have deleterious effects on working families and the state. Medicaid supports insurance providers, provides counter-cyclical coverage to those who need health insurance the most, and ensures access to long-term care services. Findings from NCCP's Family Resource Simulator (FRS) show that public health insurance can mediate the high cost of basic needs and more effectively support workers' advancement toward economic self-sufficiency. Parents' access to public health insurance can also strengthen the health and wellbeing of New Jersey's children. Finally, Medicaid plays a vital role in New Jersey's economy and in the acquisition of federal funding. The fiscal reality of Medicaid's role in state budgets is far more complex than is often reported. This report uses results from the FRS to analyze New Jersey's work support policies through the lens of cuts to New Jersey FamilyCare (NJFC) and subsequent threats to Medicaid. It examines the significant and measurable ways in which these cuts affect the economic well-being of working families and recommends policy priorities that would provide a better investment in New Jersey's economy and its residents.
Subject(s):
Public health
Public policy
Economics
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