Vitale, Weinberg resolution opposes Medicaid waiver income-eligibility reduction

Two Democratic lawmakers are fighting the Christie administration’s proposed Medicaid Waiver application.

Sens. Joseph Vitale, (D-19), Middlesex, and Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), Bergen, on Thursday introduced SCR165, which urges the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to reject provisions in the state application, that among other things, would reduce income eligibility limits.

According to the resolution, “The most significant and troubling proposal is a freeze on enrollment for all adult parents whose income exceeds the State’s Aid to Families with Dependent Children eligibility limit, which limit is less than 30% of the federal poverty level.”

Under that scenario, “A family of three would only qualify for NJ FamilyCare if their annual income did not exceed $5,316. It is estimated that in FY2012, a staggering 93,000 low-income parents will be denied health care coverage if this eligibility change is implemented,” the bill states.

The idea behind seeking the waiver is flexibility in determining eligibility and benefits to achieve cost-effectiveness, but the application would also pursue goals that the Resolution calls “unconscionable and shortsighted.’’

The waiver enrollment freeze would be on the heels of a fiscal year 2011 enrollment freeze for parents whose income exceeded 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

ACR198 is the companion resolution in the Assembly.

In related news on Thursday, the Assembly Human Services Committee released a bill that would provide a supplemental appropriation of $6.4 million in state funds to the Department of Human Services to restore services to people in the state’s FamilyCare program. Vitale, Weinberg resolution opposes Medicaid waiver income-eligibility reduction