ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and Sunlen Miller Report:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he is going to take a “wait and see” approach to how his state implements the Affordable Care Act now that the Supreme Court has deemed the president’s health care plan constitutional.
“It is a wait and see on this,” Christie said during a question and answer session after a speech to the Brookings Institution. “We just found out about this. So it won’t affect our fiscal ’13 budget. We have to look at fiscal ’14′ and fiscal ’15 as when it will have an impact. But, first of all, I was glad the Supreme Court ruled that extortion is still illegal in America. And that is a relief, because Obamacare on Medicaid to the states was extortion! Especially saying that you expand your program to where we tell you, and if you don’t, we are taking all your money away.”
Christie said he is also “mak(ing) an analysis on the exchange issue as well” and hopes to come to “some kind of decision by the beginning of (20)13.”
“We can either let the state run the exchange or let the federal government run the exchange,” Christie said. “One, what makes it better for the people of our state and two what is the most efficient and effective way to do it from a cost perspective. So I have our folks working on it. Now that we have a ruling, I have our policy folks working on it and can come to me with an analysis of what they think given the current state of New Jersey’s Medicaid system.”
Under the legislation, states are required to set up a health insurance exchange program by January 2014 and they will receive grants from the federal government in order to implement it. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he will not implement Obamacare and just today Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he won’t implement parts of the Affordable Care Act.
“We should be looking forward into a vigorous back and forth on that between the governors and the administration,” Christie said before calling the plan “generally hurtful.”
“The idea that the federal government is going to give a one size fits all health care program and think that it’s going to work just as effectively in New Jersey as it will in Missouri, we know that makes no sense. It just makes no sense from a gut perspective,” Christie said. “This is the arrogance of the federal government that they believe that down here they can craft a federal health care program that will work for everybody.”
Christie is frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, but has recently made headlines more for his temper than policy, yelling at a constituent on the Jersey Shore on Thursday and calling a reporter “stupid” and an “idiot” last weekend. In the address, the tough talking governor spoke about what leadership means to him and joked no one in New Jersey will go to vote in 2013 and “wonder who this guy is and what he thought!” He became more serious, though, when appealing to politicians to take more risks and be more transparent, urging them to be bolder and stop listening to political advisors.
“I want people to know that their government can work for them, but they need leaders who are willing to take risks, risks with their own parties, risks with the public that votes for them” Christie said. “I think that is what leadership needs to be about, especially in really difficult times like the ones we are in today. We should not be listening to political consultants whispering in our ear, telling us say as little as possible!”
The frequent Veepstakes chatter did not come up in his address, but he did mention the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa. Despite his high profile, Christie said he has “not yet been invited to give” a speech and has “no knowledge” whether he will be given a speaking slot.