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Murphy vows to help residents sign up for 'Obamacare'

Associated Press | 11/30/2017, 11:38 p.m.
Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy said Wednesday that his administration will be much more aggressive helping New Jersey residents sign up ...
New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy speaks during a news conference in Newark, N.J., Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEWARK, N.J. — Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy said Wednesday that his administration will be much more aggressive helping New Jersey residents sign up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Murphy appeared in Newark at an event aimed at encouraging those eligible for coverage to sign up. Open enrollment ends Dec. 15.

He didn't mention Republican Gov. Chris Christie by name, but made it clear that he plans at least a change in tone on supporting Barack Obama's signature legislation. Christie has said he disagreed with Obama and the philosophy behind the law. Murphy said he wants to strengthen the legislation and work toward universal health care.

Though Christie criticized the legislation, New Jersey expanded Medicaid under his administration as part of the 2010 law. More than 500,000 residents have received coverage under the expansion and about 300,000 others have coverage through the exchanges.

Murphy criticized the Republican Trump administration and GOP-led Congress for their efforts to undermine the law. The Trump administration cut advertising to promote enrollment from $100 million to $10 million as well as money for consumer helpers by 40 percent to $36.8 million.

Murphy stopped short of promising universal coverage in New Jersey but said he supported the idea.

"I can promise you this," Murphy said. "We're gonna be much more aggressive on being associated with the notion — as I said a few minutes ago — that everybody has a right to health care."

Murphy laid out few details about what would change but said he envisions directing agencies to inquire whether residents have health care.

Christie's commissioner of banking and insurance issued a news release on Oct. 30 advising the public of the open enrollment period. -- (AP)