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Chris Christie, Obamacare’s Unknown Champion

A savvy political decision brought medical insurance to more than a half million poor people in New Jersey

The increasing number of people coming to the emergency room in hospitals across New Jersey is partly due to Obamacare, which added 880,000 people to the insurance rolls, the largest share being low-income folks who now qualify for Medicaid.

But former Gov. Chris Christie also deserves some of the credit.

After the Affordable Care Act passed, most Republican governors said they wouldn’t opt into the voluntary expansion of Medicaid, even though the federal government would pay for 90 percent of the extra cost.

Christie originally intended to pass on the money, as he told Fox and Friends in July 2012.

But six months later, squeezed between his ambition to run for president and re-election in a majority blue state, he bucked his own party and took the cash, ultimately making it possible for more than a half million poor people in New Jersey to see doctors and specialists when they needed.

Read the full story on WNYC News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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