The Washington Post

Gov. Chris Christie: ‘Obamacare’ Medicaid penalty is ‘extortion’

In a policy speech today at the Brookings Institution, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said he was pleased that the Supreme Court ended the “extortion” of states under the “Obamacare” Medicaid penalty, saying that it was still extortion “even when done by the president of the United States.”

Responding to a question, Christie said, “First of all, I was glad that the Supreme Court ruled that extortion is still illegal in America — and that’s a relief because Obamacare on Medicaid to the states was extortion.”

“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.’ Well, that’s extortion,” Christie said.

The Affordable Care Act originally called for states to lose federal funding for Medicaid if they refused to expand the program.

Christie claimed that New Jersey has the second most expensive Medicaid program in the country, and questioned how much more the state’s program could be expanded.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.
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