Christie: Medicaid penalty under ObamaCare was 'extortion'

New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he was relieved by the recent Supreme Court ruling that ended the “extortion” on states for not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled extortion is still illegal, that was a relief. ObamaCare on Medicaid to states was extortion,” Christie, a former prosecutor, said to a question posed after speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.

Prior to the high court’s June 28 ruling, states that refused to expand Medicaid under President Obama’s health care reform law faced losing federal funding for the program, which provides medical insurance for the poor.

The governor said he will wait to decide whether to join Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican governors who say they will not expand Medicaid because they already have straining budgets.

Scott argues the federal government promises to cover total Medicaid expansion for only the first three years, which would later put too much of a financial strain on Florida, with 3.8 million uninsured residents.

Christie said New Jersey has the second-highest Medicaid costs in the country and that the related changes to the federal health law will not impact his state budget until at least fiscal 2013.

“It’s wait and see,” he said.