Christie Vetoes Health Care Legislation

Governor Chris Christie on Thursday vetoed legislation that would have established a health care exchange, called for under the President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The measure, which passed the legislature on March 15, would have created an online market for New Jersey residents to buy federally subsidized health insurance in 2014, when federal health care reforms required most Americans to get coverage.

“The very constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is cloaked in uncertainty, as both the individual mandate to procure health insurance as well as the jurisdictional mandate to establish an exchange may not survive scrutiny by the Supreme Court,” the governor stated in his veto message. “Because it is not known whether the Affordable Care Act will remain, in whole or in part, it would be imprudent for New Jersey to create an exchange at this moment in time before critical threshold issues are decided with finality by the Court.”

Democratic Assemblyman Herb Conaway, a lead sponsor of the New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange Act and a doctor, said the governor has put "national political pressures" ahead of the needs of the state's 1.3 million uninsured residents and the many others who are underinsured.

A decision from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is expected in June.

Governor Christie is the second governor in the nation to veto legislation establishing an exchange. New Mexico's governor was the first.

With the Associated Press