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New Jersey lawmakers respond to health care ruling

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June 28, 2012

By Hannah Mead

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

TRENTON, New Jersey: After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the bulk of the Affordable Care Act constitutional, New Jersey lawmakers had a variety of responses. They also have a variety of options in the coming months as they decide how to comply with the law.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been critical of the Act, said the ruling was "disappointing."[1] Earlier this year he vetoed a bill from the New Jersey State Legislature that would have set up a health insurance exchange in line with the federal law.[2] Christie says he may continue to avoid creating a state exchange until after the November election, stating "If Mitt Romney's elected in the election, there won't be any more Obamacare."[1]

Unless the law is repealed one way or another, however, New Jersey will either have to accept the federal government's blanket exchange, or create their own[2] by January 2013.[3] They could do this through legislative action, or the governor could simply issue an executive order outlining the exchange.[2]

State Senator Nia Gill opposes Christie's waiting game, saying it will take time to craft a bill that sets up an exchange best suited to New Jersey. "Given the delay that has already taken place, time is of the essence," she said.[2] Assembly member Herb Conaway is concerned that Christie may opt to create the exchange through executive order rather than involve the whole state government. "The Legislature needs to have a role in this," he said.[3]

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