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Christie’s ‘Pocket Veto’ Kills Bill Requiring Health Workers to Get Flu Shots

Healthcare measures addressing wide range of issues meet mixed fate at end of legislative session

chris christie
Credit: Amanda Brown

A bill that would have required hospital and other healthcare workers to receive annual flu shots or sign a waiver declining them was one of several healthcare-related measures that Gov. Chris Christie allowed to expire yesterday without signing them.

Christie also “pocket” vetoed bills that would have used projected savings from preventive care to help fund healthcare programs; required medical marijuana to be treated the same as other prescription drugs; allowed the state to stop insurers from cutting funds that pay for home health aides; and increased the amount of loan forgiveness that new doctors could receive when they work in underserved areas.

“Pocket veto” is the term for what occurs when a bill is not enacted because a governor simply declines to sign it before the end of a legislative session.

However, Christie signed other healthcare related bills, including measures establishing a state trauma system; increasing awareness of stillbirths; attempting to reduce cardiac problems among high-school students; and requiring insurers to pay for additional scans for women whose initial screening shows they have high breast density.

The bill requiring the vaccinations,A-2172 (S-1464), would have allowed healthcare workers to opt out by signing a statement declining the flu shots, but would have required hospitals to report how many workers opted out.

The other bills that received pocket vetoes were:

Bill sponsor Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden) released a statement yesterday expressing disappointment that the measure didn’t become law and saying that he would work with Christie on a new version of the bill.

The healthcare bills that Christie chose to sign were wide-ranging. They included:

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