Chris Christie (Health Policy)
“Protecting Health Benefits For Today’s And Tomorrow’s Seniors”
Governor Christie proposes “keeping it simple - if you can afford to pay more for your health benefits you will and if you can’t, you won’t.”
- Expanding Existing Premium Means Testing: expanding the existing sliding scale for Medicare premiums for higher-income seniors
- Seniors with a $85,000 a year income will pay 40% of premium costs, increasing it to 90% above $196,000 a year.
- Greater cost-sharing through higher income-related premiums will also be applied to the drug prescription program Medicare Part D.
- Rasing the Eligibility Age at a Gradual Rate:Just as with Social Security, the Medicare program must be adjusted to reflect the longer, healthier and more productive lives Americans are living. Governor Christie proposes increasing the Medicare eligibility by one month per year so that by 2040 it would be 67 years old, and by 2064 would be 69 years old.
- Creating Uniform, Single Combined Deductible:
- Creating a uniform single annual deductible of $550, with a uniform coinsurance rate of 20% above the deductible.
- Providing catastrophic protection for seniors with just a 5% cost-share after out of pocket expenses reach $5,500 in a year, and a hard cap of $7,500 a year in cost-sharing. This will save money for the Medicare system while also providing greater protection against catastrophic costs for seniors.
“Empowering States To Focus On Better Services For The Individual”
Governor Christie proposes “making the program less complicated, easier and more focused on how to serve people.”
- Providing States with a Per Capita Allocation To Fund The Program: Under Governor Christie’s proposal, per capita caps are indexed to the number of enrollees in Medicaid, giving each state a set amount of funds per individual enrollee. The Governor also proposes to adjust this amount for inflation going forward. Under such an arrangement, Medicaid would continue to provide more funding for states and low-income individuals when the economy is doing poorly and unemployment increases. By implementing a per capita cap system, all states will have increased freedom to tailor Medicaid programs.
- Simplifying the Waiver Process: Under the current system, states have to wait months to receive waiver approval in order to shape their Medicaid program to fit the specific needs of their state and people. The Governor is calling for a simplified waiver process where “waiver templates” of what has worked in one state, to make them easy to approve in another.
- Better Coordinating Care For Dual Eligibles: Over 9 million low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. And while these individuals represent just 13% of enrollees in either program, they account for 27% of all Medicare spending and 40% of Medicaid spending. These individuals would be better served if they received their coverage through a managed care organization. This will allow the services provided to them to be better coordinated through singular oversight across the spectrum of health care funding streams.
- Requiring a Modest Copay for Those Above the Poverty Line. Governor Christie proposes that those Medicaid with incomes above 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) would have a $10 copay for a doctor’s visit and a $20 copay for a hospital visit. This will introduce economics into the health care purchase decision and encourage rational use of health care resources.
“Refocusing Assistance To Put People Back to Work” Gov. Christie proposes “focusing on ways to help those beneficiaries who can keep working to return to the workforce and encouraging rehabilitation in lieu of permanent disability.”
- Focusing On Remaining In The Workforce: Similar to reforms enacted in The Netherlands, for individuals applying for disability benefits the goal should be to find solutions that keep people in the labor force and living productive lives. “Reforms in The Netherlands have had the effect of reducing the flow of new disability beneficiaries by 60% in 6 years.”
- Workplace Solutions And Rehabilitation: Require applicants to first work directly with employers and rehabilitation specialists to create a plan and explore alternatives and accommodations that can be made to address their specific needs in their current workplace.
- Employer Incentives: Offer tax incentives that encourage employers to invest in prevention, accommodation and rehabilitation services for their workers as well as to provide short-term private disability insurance.
- Incentivizing Individuals To Get Back To Work: Governor Christie proposes reforming the DI program to encourage people to get back into the workforce by speeding up the qualification review process, updating the requirements for recency of work and for returning to work, as well as increasing funding for continuing reviews. At the same time the program should encourage vocational rehab, wage subsidies and preventive care services to keep an individual working with additional support.
Healthcare for Veterans
Christie is committed to our nation’s veterans and providing them with the healthcare they’ve been promised.
- ANYTIME, ANYWHERE CARE:
Governor Christie believes veterans should be able to receive their health care benefit from any medical institution. Private sector and nonprofit hospitals want to be engaged in veteran health care and they should be brought in to supplement treatment delivered from veterans’ hospitals.
- QUALIFIED LEADERSHIP AT THE VA:
As President, Christie would hire a qualified professional who has run a major healthcare system in this country to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The majority of the role of the VA has become that of a healthcare provider and therefore needs someone who knows how to meet the mission of providing adequate and timely care.
- 24/7 HOTLINE:
In New Jersey, Governor Christie’s administration established a 24 hours a day 7 days a week hotline manned by mental health professionals as well as veteran volunteers. Governor Christie supports creating a similar nationwide hotline to act as a resource for veterans experiencing mental health issues when they get home. (CCWER)