http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/christies_medicaid_decision_dra.html Christie's Medicaid decision draws praise across N.J. TRENTON â Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups praised Gov. Chris Christieâs decision to expand the stateâs Medicaid program to cover tens of thousands of uninsured New Jerseyans on Tuesday, calling it a compassionate move that would help the state economy. Although Christie emphasized he is "no fan of the Affordable Care Act," he said the move was "the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health." The decision by Christie â one of the better-known Republican governors to accept the program â is expected to save the state $227 million a year by enrolling 104,000 low-income people into the government health care program, beginning in January, he said. "Accepting these federal resources will provide health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income New Jerseyans, help keep our hospitals financially healthy and actually save New Jersey taxpayers money," Christie said in his annual budget address in Trenton. New Jersey stands to reap far more â $15 billion in reimbursements over the next nine years if all 300,000 low-income residents eligible for the program enroll â said Ray Castro, a senior analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal research organization that urged the governor to embrace the expansion. "Despite opposition to the expansion from conservative factions of the national Republican party, Gov. Christie â much like he did in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy â has demonstrated the leadership and independence of a governor who is willing to place the interests of New Jerseyans above partisan politics," Castro said. The state needs to embark on a recruitment and marketing campaign, he said, some of which the federal government will pay for, because "a lot of people who are eligible donât even know itâs available." In announcing his plans, Christie said the expansion targets very-low-income adults who have never qualified for Medicaid because they are childless. "These people are consistently among those who need help the most â men and women who have suffered trauma in their lives, live with mental illness, rely on New Jerseyâs emergency rooms for primary health care needs, or those citizens who lack insurance or access to treatment," he said.