And another one bites the dust. New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie will announce later today that his state will accede to the Affordable Care Act’s provision to expand Medicare eligibility, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports.
Republican governors have been resisting the expansion, taking a lawsuit against the federal government all the way to the Supreme Court, but are backing down one by one. Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the most outspoken of the GOP governors against the healthcare law, also relented.
The expansion in New Jersey will provide healthcare coverage to about 300,000 residents who currently don’t have it. Washington will cover 100 percent of the cost for the expansion for the first three years, before support drops to 90 percent, but Republican governors worried the money would be insufficient or discontinue after some time.
So far, 39 states have announced their plans, with 22 — including nine with GOP governors — saying they’ll go along with the expansion. The remaining 17 have turned it down, but advocates expect them to reverse course down the line.
Scott is already facing a Tea Party backlash over the change, and Christie most likely will as well. And he’s already on thin ice with the conservative base. Christie was not invited to CPAC this year, the upcoming conservative gathering in Washington, and was scorned by his party for working with President Obama on Hurricane Sandy relief efforts shortly before the election.