TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie says more than 500,000 New Jersey residents now have health insurance coverage under Medicaid as part of the expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The Republican governor made the announcement Monday during a statehouse news conference.

Christie says 566,655 residents now have the coverage. That brings the number of insured residents under the state's public health insurance program to 1.7 million.

The announcement comes as GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has denounced the Affordable Care Act. Christie says the Medicaid expansion was just one part of the legislation and one that Republicans have included in their own proposals.

Christie opted three years ago to expand Medicaid despite Republican opposition to the health care law. He says future governors should have the power to evaluate whether the state's partnership with the federal government makes financial sense.