The Supreme Court decision striking down the Medicaid provision of the healthcare reform law represents a welcome relief from “extortion,” says New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie.
“First of all, I was glad that the Supreme Court ruled that extortion is still illegal in America. That’s a relief because Obamacare, on Medicaid to the states, was extortion,” he said in an appearance at the Brookings Institution
in Washington, D.C.
The Affordable Care Act as originally written required states to expand their Medicaid program or lose federal funding.
“It essentially said, ‘You expand your program to where we tell you, and if you don’t, we’re taking the rest of your money away.’ That’s extortion. It was a whole bunch of nice words in a bill, but it was extortion,” Christie said.
“I’m really glad, as a former prosecutor, that a majority of the Supreme Court still supports the proposition that extortion is still illegal, even when done by the president of the United States.”
Meanwhile, Christie criticized the nation’s anti-drug efforts for simply shunting drug users aside in prison. “The war on drugs, while well-intentioned, has been a failure," he said. "We're warehousing addicted people every day in state prisons in New Jersey, giving them no treatment."
He lauded a law recently passed in New Jersey that requires a year of treatment for first-time, non-violent drug offenders rather than prison.
"If you're pro-life, as I am, you can't be pro-life just in the womb," Christie said. "Every life is precious, and every one of God's creatures can be redeemed, but they won't if we ignore them.”
Drug treatment also is cheaper than jail, Christie said. “It costs us $49,000 a year to warehouse a prisoner in New Jersey state prisons last year. A full year of inpatient drug treatment costs 24,000 a year."
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