A single mother raising three kids on a
weekly salary of $118 will no longer be
eligible to take advantage of the medical
social safety net should she fall ill.
As if Governor Christy comprehends
a $118 week salary given
his salary of $3,365 per week.
The Policy Page
By: Rick Ungar
June 12, 2011
If you live in the state of New Jersey and are earning $118 a week, congratulations!
According to Gov. Chris Christie, you have escaped the bonds of poverty and no longer are in need of the state’s Medicaid program.
Never mind that $118 a week is but a fraction of the poverty line as defined by the United States of America. Pay no attention to the fact that New Jersey battles California for the mantle of having the highest cost of living of any state in the nation.
Chris Christie, everyone’s favorite no-nonsense, “tell it like it is” governor, has decided that you can manage quite nicely on this paltry sum while remaining fully capable of paying for your own medical care.
Sound like a joke?
It’s not. And it is difficult to imagine anything less humorous.
Currently, the cut-off to qualify is $30,000.
Think about that for a moment.
A single mother raising three kids on a weekly salary of $118 will no longer be eligible to take advantage of the medical social safety net should she fall ill.
I can hear my conservative friends rising in chorus – mom should have thought about that before having all those kids she couldn’t afford!
Maybe she should have. If only there were some place these women could turn to for family planning advice so that they might avoid this problem.
But wait – there is such a program in New Jersey. Or, to be more precise, there was such a program in New Jersey.
It turns out that women’s clinics are disappearing from the New Jersey landscape as Governor Christie uses the budget pen to wipe out women’s health programs that might also provide abortion services as a small part of what they make available to women so badly in need of their health care and counseling services. This, despite the fact that no state or federal taxpayer money went towards paying for any such abortion services long before Christie began his assault on women’s health.
In his last budget, Christy sliced $7.5 million from family planning clinics – a cut his new budget proudly continues. As a result, health and planning services so vital to low income women are becoming very hard to find in New Jersey- not to mention the many other states where Governors are using the budget to enact their social, anti-abortion agendas.
What do we call powerful people when they pick on the weakest among us?
We call them bullies. And Governor Chris Christie exemplifies the modern-day bully. Is it any wonder, then, that the GOP sees Christie as the man they would so gladly follow into the 2012 election battle?
Christie’s proposal to cut over $500 million from the state’s Medicaid program would not only affect parents earning far too little to support their families. Some of the deepest cuts would leave seniors, who require full-time, in-facility nursing home care, literally out in the cold as the funding that supports their ability to get the medical attention they need disappears.
I suppose these elderly can move back into the homes of their children – many of whom are the ones earning over $6,000 a year, but well below the national poverty line, who will no longer be able to care for their own health needs let another find a way to pay for the care of their sick parents.
There is some good news in this otherwise bleak story.
Come 2014, when the federal government steps in to play a larger role in financing the state Medicaid programs (they already pay for about half of the costs), it will be illegal for these people to be denied care.
Accordingly, all these folks need do is see to it they do not get sick between now and 2014.
How hard can this be?