Hurting the Middle Class to spite Obama: GOP Senator introduces bill to prevent Medicaid expansion in Michigan

Sorry face, this nose has got to go

It what can only be described as one of the most intentionally childishly mean-spirited, hurt-people-to-spite-Obama acts in recent Michigan history, state Senator Bruce Caswell from Hillsdale has introduced legislation that specifically prohibits Michigan from expanding Medicaid coverage as permitted under the Affordable Care Act.

Just so we’re clear: it’s not that he’s just suggesting that we not do this incredibly smart and money-saving, life-saving thing. He is actively seeking to make it illegal to do so.

Here is the entire text of his bill, S.B. 41 (pdf):

A bill to amend 1939 PA 280, entitled
“The social welfare act,”
(MCL 400.1 to 400.119b) by adding section 105c.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

     Sec. 105c. (1) The state shall not expand medical assistance program eligibility to nonelderly individuals with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty guidelines as directed under the patient protection and affordable care act, Public Law 111-148.
     (2) As used in this section, “federal poverty guidelines” means the poverty guidelines published annually in the federal register by the United States department of health and human services under its authority to revise the poverty line under section 673(2) of subtitle B of title VI of the omnibus budget reconciliation act of 1981, 42 USC 9902.

For the love of Goddess, the man has the audacity to call it “The Social Welfare Act”.

If you are harboring any misconceptions about whether this is a good idea for Michigan, please have a look at LOLGOP’s most recent post “5 ways Republican governors are screwing their citizens by turning down Medicaid expansion”. As he so succinctly spells out, if you liked the “public option”, you’ll LOVE Medicaid expansion and states that opt out of this money-saving, life-saving option are still going to be paying for it anyway!!!

This is purely an act of spite by an anti-Obama Republican. There’s no other explanation because, when you look at this option on its merits, it will help reduce costs and rein in taxes. As I pointed out recently, expanding Medicaid in this way will drop the number of uninsured Michiganders by a whopping 46% and save Michigan $1 billion in the first 10 years. This is a callous move by Caswell to strike a blow against the dreaded “Obamacare” at the expense of the working poor who are forced to seek their medical care at emergency rooms (if they seek it at all). It will result in people dying that might otherwise have lived had they had adequate health insurance. Don’t forget, our state will pay for this program one way or other. The choice before us is whether or not we can expand coverage to needy Michiganders.

Such heartlessness is nothing new to Caswell, by the way. In 2011 he put forth a plan that would have required the clothing allowance given to families on welfare to be spent only at thrift shops like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

We must reject this absurd legislation and do the right thing by our fellow Michiganders. Please sign our petition asking Governor Snyder to reject this cold-hearted partisan gamesmanship (click HERE.)

There is some hope that Snyder will do the right thing. He is reported to be considering it because it would also allow him to have more money in the state budget for mental health programs. We may know as soon as his February 7th budget address.

[Facepalm CC image credit: Alex Proimos | Flickr]

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