Christie is popular with conservative Republicans, many of whom were hoping he would jump into the race for the GOP’s presidential nomination.
The governor said he vetoed the exchange bill because it would be inappropriate to start implementing the healthcare law before the Supreme Court decides whether to strike it down. The court is expected to rule next month on whether the law’s individual mandate is constitutional and, if not, whether its other provisions can remain in place.
Holt said an exchange would benefit New Jersey no matter how the Supreme Court rules, dismissing Christie’s justification as the cover for a more political decision.
“It was to make a political point very prominently for candidate Romney to see,” Holt said on a conference call with reporters.
Several Republican governors have held off on exchanges while they wait for the Supreme Court. Others have moved ahead because if the law is upheld and they’re not ready to launch an exchange, the federal government will step in with its own exchange.