The New Jersey Senate today approved a bill that would provide Medicaid health insurance to hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents by a vote of 26-12.

“The federal government is offering states a real gift with their Medicaid Expansion deal – providing hundreds of thousands on low-income New Jersey residents access to health insurance they may otherwise be unable to afford, and at no initial cost to the state,” said Senate Health Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Even in the long-term, the federal government will be contributing 90 percent of the costs associated with this program expansion, which is a real windfall for New Jersey residents. Turning down this offer and turning away these funds would be foolish as it would risk the health and wellbeing of some of New Jersey’s most needy residents.”

The bill, S-2644, would expand Medicaid income eligibility for non-elderly adult residents of New Jersey to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, authorized under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA stipulates that the federal government will pick up 100 percent of costs associated with expanding Medicaid for the first three years. After a three-year phase down, the federal government will permanently pay 90 percent of the costs.