The past isn't always prologue to the future, but when it comes to healthcare and the candidates for governor, it could prove prophetic -- at least as far as the next four years are concerned.
From funding to family planning centers to the proposed decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Barbara Buono have followed distinctly divergent courses on implementing healthcare policy. And the two candidates' views on the Affordable Care Act have led to sharply contrasting ideas as to how the state should proceed.
Christie has taken a hands-off approach to the ACA’s health insurance marketplace, letting the federal government take the lead, while allowing Medicaid expansion to go forward. Buono believes that the state should operate its own exchange, enabling it to reap a windfall in federal funding that will let it better inform the public about the law. She thinks the state should embrace the ACA in its totality to make sure it works for New Jerseyans.
The disputes reflect the candidates’ different priorities, with Christie both citing budgetary imperatives that have limited healthcare spending while at times reshaping the state’s approach to healthcare, such as pursuing a comprehensive Medicaid waiver that will shift the focus of long-term care for the elderly and the disabled from institutionalized settings to community-based care.
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