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New Jersey's Christie vetoes Medicaid expansion bill

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie introduces U.S. President Barack Obama (not pictured) to speak on the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore foll
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie introduces U.S. President Barack Obama (not pictured) to speak on the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore foll

(Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a bill that attempted to make the state's expansion of Medicaid eligibility permanent under the healthcare law known as Obamacare, his office said on Friday.

Christie's office announced he vetoed eight bills that "would add potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local budgets." He also signed a $32.9 billion budget and three other bills, his office said in a statement.

Among the bills he vetoed was one dealing with Medicaid expansion under the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law known as Obamacare.

Christie, a critic of Obamacare, said in February he would accept federal money to expand Medicaid in New Jersey, and the state budget he signed on Friday included $227 million in such funds.

Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly had passed a bill seeking to make that Medicaid expansion permanent, but Christie vetoed it, a spokesman for the governor said.

The vetoed bill would have removed the flexibility to opt out of the Medicaid expansion if the federal government changed the terms of the current favorable matching rate, the spokesman said. The governor had discussed publicly his intention to maintain this flexibility when he signed onto the expansion, the spokesman said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Eric Walsh)

(This story was corrected to show Christie vetoed bill trying to make Medicaid expansion permanent, but did not veto Medicaid expansion for this year)

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