Citing the “imprudence” of imposing obligations on New Jersey citizens while questions of constitutionality are pending with the Supreme Court of the United States, Governor Chris Christie today vetoed legislation that would have begun to establish a health care exchange in New Jersey in line with the federal Affordable Care Act. 

The creation of health care exchanges in each state is provided for in the Affordable Care Act as the vehicle for individuals and businesses to access care and comply with the “individual mandate.”

Christie says, “I am concerned that a hastily created exchange in New Jersey will impose unnecessary obligations upon the State’s taxpayers. The very constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is cloaked in uncertainty, as both the individual mandate to procure health insurance as well as the jurisdictional mandate to establish an exchange may not survive scrutiny by the Supreme Court.”

“The Governor has sent a clear message to the 1.3 million uninsured New Jerseyans and the many others who are underinsured and struggle to afford their existing insurance. He doesn’t care,” says Assemblyman Herb Conaway, M.D., the lead Assembly sponsor of the vetoed legislation. “This legislation would have made quality and affordable health care possible for every New Jersey resident. It would have positioned New Jersey to help working people and small businesses receive billions of dollars in available federal tax credits to purchase insurance coverage.”

New Jersey Business and Industry Association President Phil Kirschner says the bill did not do enough to address the high cost of health insurance. He explains, “Governor Christie is absolutely right to veto this bill. This gives lawmakers an opportunity to create a health insurance exchange that will be less bureaucratic and provide the best value.”