Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey on Monday defended his plan to expand Medicaid coverage in the state, a move that defied conservatives opposed to Obamacare.
“This government in Trenton is about trying to change this hyper-partisan activity that we have all over the country and asking some very simple questions,” he said at the Metropolitan Family Health Network. “How can we most effectively, efficiently and fairly deliver services to people in the state who need them. And I don’t care whether those people are Democrats or Republicans or Indepedents. What I care about is if they’re in need and we can do it in an effective, efficient way that we do it.”
Christie added that he would continue to work with Democrats on issues of common interest.
“That’s what this country wants and that is what this state demands. Stop the hyper-partisanship, start working together.”
Last week, Christie became the eighth Republican governor to support expanding Medicaid, a key component of Obamacare.
More than 300,000 uninsured low-income residents are expected to be added to the state’s Medicaid program, which will be federally-funded until 2016. The federal government will gradually reduce its funding to 90 percent in 2022.
Christie said expanding Medicaid made New Jersey “a better, more compassionate, smarter” state.
The Republican governor has previously angered conservatives by publicly praising President Barack Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.