Schaer: Christie’s Budget Philosophy Born Out Of A Moral Vacuum

gary schaer tlsDuring today’s special Assembly Budget Committee hearing on the Christie administration’s plans to cut Medicaid funding for New Jersey’s neediest residents, Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic) noted the administration’s pattern of consistently reaching into the pockets of the state’s working poor to balance the budget. 

“This plan is both lacking in conscience and details” Schaer said. “From what little we’ve been able to ascertain from the administration, it’s clear that they are once again intent on balancing our budget on the backs of our neediest residents”.

“Equally disconcerting is the apparent lack of detail still available on the administration’s plans. With just over a month left until we must pass a balanced budget, the administration has yet to apply to the federal government for this waiver, which may or may not even be approved, and if it is, it might be well after the fiscal year 2012 budget cycle concludes, having little impact on our current situation”.

“The only thing clear is that the Christie administration’s philosophy on balancing the state’s budget is one born out of a moral vacuum,” said Schaer, Vice Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. TLS.

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  1. Assemblyman Gary Schaer isn’t letting this administration steamroll right over him. But my question is; what can he do about it? If the state applies to the Feds for a Medicaid program Waiver and they approve it.. then what?? Is there anything we can do to stop this reckless train before it’s too late?

    By the way, there are other items in Christie’s Medicaid Reform package which are equally reckless and haven’t yet been properly addressed..

  2. The moral vaccum that I see is Schaer not realizing that we are bankrupt.

    Telling someone who doesn’t have any money (the state and the federal gov’t) to continue to borrow money in order to keep the lifestyle, is the height of insanity and moral bankruptcy.

  3. I don’t think that Assemblyman Schaer is suggesting that there is no need for budget cuts. What I read is “it’s clear that they are once again intent on balancing our budget on the backs of our neediest residents”. The problem with Christie’s proposal is that he is punishing the “working poor”. Medicaid will still be given to those with “no income” (such as the “undocumented aliens’ in the state), or those living off of Welfare. However, a family of medium (and large) size who have one or two wage-earners but are not making ends meet, will no longer be qualified for Medicaid benefits. How is a family with gross earnings of $25,000/year expected to purchase family health insurance with average annual premiums of $12,000?! (who then must pay co-pays and deductibles for all medical services).
    Yes, until the Federal government can figure out a real solution to make healthcare more affordable, it is the responsibility of the Government to assure that all working New Jersey and American citizens have access to some type of medical coverage.

  4. To #4, I am not impressed by your words. I am a family of 4 that just misses the cutoff and so make choices so that I should afford health insurance. Most of the things we have aren’t really necessities, anyway.

  5. Encouraging people to rely on Government Programs and Hand-Outs as opposed to self-reliance is the philosophy born out of a moral vacuum. All programs should have ‘weaning-off’ periods that would include job counseling, money management etc. A large part of what WE TAXPAYERS provide is unneeded fluff and waste. Health Insurance is nice – but as long as emergency rooms are there for genuine EMERGENCIES that’s enough. Food Stamps is wonderful, but if there’s no oversight as to what types of food can be purchased – that becomes a welcome crutch. If WIC can be restricted to certain ‘healthy choices’, why should TAXPAYERS pay for someone else’s junk food?!
    Enough already. No more money.

  6. The only thing clear is the agenda of the Democrats to demonize the Govenor. Any cut to entitlements is labelled as the neediest residents. The Democrat plan is tax the millionaires which sounds good to the neediest residents (the ones recieving the entitlements), but any inteligent person can see where that policy is taking us. The politicians got us into this mess by raising taxes so they could give to the poor or the unions which in turn bought them votes. We can continue on this path and bankrupt the state or we need to cut entitlements.

  7. schaer, has unmatched experience by anyone in the administartion, if he speaks out and states the administration with CC at the helm is making reckless decisions, mark my words he is on the bulls eye.
    scher is careful with words a top notch mentch and has a load of sechel, he is a heck of allot closer to “knowing” whats going on than any of us.
    using lomdus to dissect the statement is missing the point. use your sechel and realize what him speaking out as a member of the budget committe means.

  8. It’s just hyperbole. By the time the dust settles, it will be clear that the cuts only affect New Jersey’s fourth or fifth neediest residents, and by that point we’re usually talking about people who should be paying for thei own insurance.

    Maybe what the Christie administration should do, is thoroughly audit each family that “needs” government assistance. Have two able bodied parents? They should be working, at least part time. Have a six bedroom townhouse? Sell it and stop taking money from other taxpayers.

  9. To #3, #5, and #6. Please clarify:
    If a family of 4 cuts out all those non-necessities (like utilities, vehicles, clothing, etc…), how are they to pay for necessities (I assume this is food, shelter, and the shoes on their feet since they will be doing a lot of walking) for $9,000 a year?
    If health insurance were affordable, I am sure most Americans would prefer private health coverage to Medicaid. Why are we promoting that the working American citizens should be entitled to less than those who dont work (or are not citizens)? I believe that it is only in the past 15 years that Food Stamps necessitated people to work (and still fall under the income bracket) in order to receive benefits. Help those who are trying to help themselves but still cannot make ends meet!
    Mr Christie could cut a lot more from the budget if the only ones entitled to ANY government assistance were working or were cut off after a period of time when not. And how much money goes to children on “undocumented aliens”? Why are those families receiving more government assistance than any others?
    For those who may think that Trenton or Washington create policy based on about 5,000 people in Lakewood, I highly doubt that is the case.
    There are MILIIONS of Americans without health insurance. These are people who do not qualify for Medicaid (or choose not to degrade themselves by accepting public assistance), yet cannot afford family health insurance. Mr. “Joe American” who earns $50,000 a year (about $40,000 net) and has 2 kids and a dog Rover, may not be able to afford another $12,000 off of his paycheck for family health insurance. He doesn’t have Food Stamps, or HUD, WIC, HEAP, etc…) He has to pay a mortgage, utility bills, clothes for the family, gas and insurance for the car he uses to get to work, and all the other odds and ends. Those are the uninsured people of America. (and there are obviously those that make less or have larger families). So they end up in the emergency room or hospital and then cannot afford the bill (several thousand dollars). So the hospital eats the cost. But they want to pass it on to others. So the charge to those who are insured (Medicaid, Medicare, Private) is actually inflated. Here is where the problems start, but definitely not where it ends.
    If there was a complete overhaul of the health insurance industry and “real change” were to happen, all of our tax dollars would be better spent.
    Let’s cut unnecesary government programs, but not at the expense of those who work (and pay taxes) or are contributing citizens of our State.

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