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A chance to improve care while lowering premium costs

Gov. Chris Christie must soon decide whether to accept billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid to more than 300,000 people in New Jersey. This has the potential to save taxpayers a lot of money. It also has the potential to result in better care for all of us during emergencies.

Without the expansion, hospitals will continue to be reimbursed by the state for “charity care,” which means, of course, that we taxpayers will continue to foot the bill. Charity care reimbursements don’t cover all the costs, so hospitals have to raise their rates to make up the difference. This raises all of our health insurance premiums. Non-emergent charity care often clogs emergency rooms, resulting in longer waits for emergency care. Medicaid expansion will free up ERs to do the job they are meant to do — help us when we need it most.

Medicaid expansion, supported by AARP, would not just benefit those who would be newly eligible for coverage. By expanding Medicaid, Christie would also be opening the door to a higher quality of care and lower premium costs for each and every New Jersey taxpayer.

Sy Larson
AARP New Jersey past state president


Keeping ERs for emergency

No one likes to wait in line — especially in an emergency.

If Medicaid isn’t expanded to cover the more than 300,000 uninsured New Jerseyans who qualify, hospitals will continue to get stuck with the bill. The state reimburses hospitals for these charity care costs, but not 100 percent. Not even close. And without the expansion of Medicaid coverage in New Jersey, which AARP supports, these unpaid costs to hospitals will just get worse, costing hospitals and state taxpayers even more. The federal government has offered to pay almost all the Medicaid expansion cost. State taxpayers will continue to be stuck with yet more charity care costs if Christie decides not to accept the federal funding for Medicaid expansion. And these uninsured New Jerseyans will continue to be forced to use hospital emergency rooms for all of their health care needs, which could affect quality of care and ER costs for everyone.

We all want to know that when we really need to get emergency care in our local hospital, it will be there for us. We shouldn’t have to face a line of people with medical problems that could have been prevented if they’d had access to affordable health care coverage through Medicaid before requiring emergency room care.

Sharon Kern


Adopt fair tax to see growth

The fair tax is an idea whose time has come. The Congress, both House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, has demonstrated time after time, the inability to restrain itself with the public purse. Congress simply can’t govern effectively as long as the income tax is in place. In order to save America, Congress must be denied the instrument of its folly: the income tax. A solution has been filed away in a drawer somewhere by the Congress for over 10 years. It’s called the fair tax.

If adopted, the fair tax would replace the income tax, repeal the 16th amendment and annihilate the IRS. Within

one year, America would experience unprecedented economic growth and thousands upon thousands of new jobs would be created.

Glen E. Terrell
Arlington, Texas

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