Gov. expands government health insurance program

New Jersey is expanding a government healthinsurance program to cover more low-income families and providecoverage for all children in the state.Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) signed a bill Tuesday that is viewed asthe first step toward requiring that all New Jersey residents have healthinsurance by 2011. It mandates that all children have insurance through governmentor a private provider within a year. It also expands a program for the poor to include more parents. That program provides free or low-cost medical exams, shots,hospitalization, lab tests, X-rays, prescription drugs and dentaland mental health services. Parents in a family of four that earn up to $27,645 currentlyare eligible. Under the new plan, the income limit would beincreased to $42,400. About 1.5 million New Jersey residents lack health insurance, including275,000 children. The new state budget includes $8 million to start the program.

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