N.J. FamilyCare bills approved in Senate Health Committee

TRENTON – The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee released a bill to restore $6.4 million for uninsured residents under the N.J. FamilyCare program.

The bill, S2751, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Vitale,  (D-19), Middlesex, restores eligibility for adults whose income is between 134 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

The bill estimated that the state funding will generate $11.9 million in federal funding.

The fiscal year 2011 budget froze enrollment at 133 percent of the federal poverty level, although Gov. Christie changed course recently and reduced plans for such drastic cuts.

At a monthly cost of approximately $238 for each adult N.J. FamilyCare recipient, restoring eligibility to such individuals immediately would cost $18.3 million for the balance of fiscal year 2011, Vitale’s bill stated.

In a related issue, the Committee released a bill, S2643, that will restore $1 million for the N.J. FamilyCare program for outreach to increase the number of children covered by Medicaid and FamilyCare.

The state recently received $8.8 million in federal funds to address the problem of uninsured children, and sponsor Sen. Joseph Vitale said $1 million can be appropriated without affecting other programs.

Vitale said that history shows the marketing effort leads to an increase in participation.

Republican Sens. Dawn Marie Addiego and Robert Singer abstained on both bills, while Republican Sen. Diane Allen voted in favor along with Democratic senators.

Previous coverage:

National Center for Children in Poverty report criticizes cuts in FamilyCare, Medicaid

  N.J. FamilyCare bills approved in Senate Health Committee