New Jersey Seeks To Shrink Medicaid
By Joel Rose, NPR
Cash-strapped states are rethinking how much health care coverage they can afford to provide for their neediest residents. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to cut $500 million in Medicaid spending — in part by freezing more than 20,000 state residents out of the program. Critics say the cuts would hurt those who can least afford it.
For years, New Jersey expanded health care coverage for low-income residents — people like Deborah Shupenko of Passaic. But last month, after 10 years of state-funded health insurance, Shupenko got a letter in the mail.
“It’s expected that my last day of New Jersey Family Coverage will be July 31, 2011,” she said.
Shupenko says she had no idea this was coming.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I was floored.”
Shupenko suffers from many medical conditions, including asthma and osteoarthritis. She’s unemployed. At 56, she is too young for Medicare, but too sick to find affordable insurance on her own.