February 25, 2015

N.J. Cuts Hospitals' Charity-Care Money as More Get Insured

With more than 600,000 New Jersey residents newly enrolled in Medicaid or health-insurance plans, Gov. Chris Christie is proposing a $74-million cut in state funds for hospitals to provide free or discounted treatment, writes The Record. The change, announced Tuesday in Mr. Christie's budget plan, will mean an equal reduction in federal matching dollars, lowering total charity-care funds by $148-million, from $650-million to $502-million.

New Jersey's Medicaid rolls have increased by 390,000 since January 1 as the state expanded the federal program under the Affordable Care Act, and another 250,000 people have procured health coverage through Obamacare exchanges. Hospital officials said medical centers in the state are still treating many patients who are unable to pay and that the budget cuts would damage safety-net services.