Gov. Christie: Obamacare’s Medicaid Mandates Are ‘Drowning’ States

By Nicholas Ballasy | May 9, 2011 | 12:58pm EDT

( – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) told that Medicaid benefits that cannot be reduced because of mandates in the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama are "drowning" the states. asked Christie if he supports the House Republicans FY2012 budget.

“Listen, I think that there’s got to be a credible plan that’s put forward that deals with entitlements in a serious way," said Christie on the red carpet of MSNBC's White House Correspondents Dinner after-party. "And, you know, I think Congressman [Paul] Ryan’s got a good set of ideas there. Whether it’s the only way to go, we’ll wait and see.

"But I think as a governor what I’m most concerned about is getting us some more flexibility in Medicaid," said Christie. "It’s really kind of drowning the states. And so if his budget gives us more flexibility in Medicaid, I think that would be good. But you know I’m more concerned about what I have to do in New Jersey than I’m concerned about what they’re going to do nationally.”

Christie said the Medicaid mandates under the health care law are the largest concern for New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie in Trenton on Jan. 6, 2011. (AP File Photo/Mel Evans)

“It’s Medicaid. It’s the biggest thing. I mean, our Medicaid program is $1.4 billion in deficit this year and because of Obamacare we can’t change the level of benefit that we offer because of the mandates that they’ve put on us. And, I think, you know, if we’re going to pay for 50 percent of it, we should have some control over it and the way this administration’s done it is they just want to control all of it. So, that’s the biggest problem for us,” he said.

Beginning in 2014, the health care law requires states to cover every individual under Medicaid whose income is equivalent to 133 percent of the poverty level or less.

President Barack Obama said himself in April 2009 that Medicare and Medicaid are “really breaking the bank.”

“The big problem we have with entitlements is not Social Security, it's Medicare. Medicare and Medicaid, the two health care programs that the federal government helps support, those are the things that are really breaking the bank,” he said.

“What we face long term, the biggest problem we have is that Medicare and Medicaid – health care costs are sky-rocketing, and at the same time as the population is getting older, which means we're using more health care.”

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