In what was not by any far stretch of the imagination a forgone conclusion, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder gave his hearty endorsement to the expansion of Medicaid coverage in Michigan as part of the Affordable Care Act. I couldn’t be more pleased.
A day before he delivers his budget message to the state Legislature, Gov. Rick Snyder gave his unconditional support for an expansion of Medicaid to include about 450,000 more uninsured, low-income Michiganders into the program.
“We’re all here to support expanding Medicaid,” Snyder said at a news conference called by a coalition of groups that support the expansion. “This is very exciting today. We’re moving forward with care for people who need it.”
The expansion will allow roughly 470,000 more uninsured low-income Michiganders to be covered by Medicaid. Currently, 1.9 million people receive Medicaid benefits. But under the Affordable Care Act — often called Obamacare by critics — nearly half a million more people will become eligible for the assistance. That’s because the ACA would expand coverage to people within 133% of the federal poverty level — $11,702 for a single person with no children and $23,021 for a family of four.
Democrats, of course, are upbeat about the Governor’s position. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. released this statement:
I applaud Governor Snyder for announcing his support of expanding Medicaid in his 2014 fiscal year budget.
The decision to support expanding Medicaid to cover up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit is both compassionate, and a smart budgeting move for Michigan. Expanding Medicaid will benefit approximately 320,000 individuals in Michigan during the first year alone, and further expand coverage to approximately 470,000 Michiganders by 2021, decreasing the total population without health insurance by 46 percent. In addition, an expansion of Medicaid will save the State of Michigan an estimated $351 million by 2022, and would save the state’s General Fund nearly $1.2 billion through 2020.
Governor Snyder also rightly recognized that expanding Medicaid would increase access to primary care providers, and would reduce the burden of rising health care costs on major hospitals and other health care providers. As a matter of both social justice and prudent public policy, I strongly urge the Republican-controlled State House and Senate to heed Governor Snyder’s call for the expansion of Medicaid.
Tea partiers in Michigan, however? Not so pleased. I got this comical diatribe from my good friends at the Tea Party of West Michigan (motto: “Influence policy, effect [sic] elections, protect the Constitution”.) The formatting is exactly as I received it.:
This is a call to action. I know we have to keep fighting this battle over and over again. However, It’s rearing it’s ugly head yet again as our Governor Snyder is sounding like he’s going to jump on the expansion of medicaid which truly makes no sense as the Supreme Court ruled it had to be optional to the states and not compulsory. So Why is Snyder doing this? Your guess is as good as mine but seeing how he has no problem taking federal dollars (our tax dollars) that would be my guess. Update, as I’ve been trying to decide how much info to give you, what words to say and not overwhelm you all at the same time, Governor Snyder has sent out a press release with talking points, called Facts About Medicaid Expansion, Improving Care, Saving Money. Let me just say, I believe the first word may be a matter of opinion on the Govenor’s part from everything I’ve read today and in the past along with the articles I’ve linked below. I do think now there is no wondering if he is going to try to force Michigan to take this money and expand Medicaid! This in my view will cement ObamaCare in the WONDERFUL STATE OF MICHIGAN. That would be such a shame. It might even bring freeloaders from other states who do not make this move to our state.
We were successful in keeping the Michigan House from appropriating the $9.8 Million to “study” the exchange last session along with other states so HHS (Health and Human Services) has come back with an offer of almost $31 million as a new enticement to our and other Governors. First off, think about the significance of that. This is so very important to HHS that they are offering us bigger and bigger amounts of money to do it. Isn’t that a sign of desparation on their part? Doesn’t that prove that with half the states refusing the implementation of ObamaCare that it’s actually working and we should keep it up and hold strong? This money is the cheese in the mousetrap. Once we expand Medicaid, even though they tell us we can reel it back in, do you really think we will? Have you ever known any government agency to shrink? Even after the Post Office stops Saturday delivery do you really think stamp prices will go down? On the contrary they will probably come right back asking for more money.
I told you it was comical. My favorite part, of course, is the “cheese in the mousetrap” statement where the Obama administration is conniving to trick unwary states into this spirally hellhole of debt foreeeeeeeeeeh-vah…
My second favorite part is that “freeloaders from other states who do not make this move” will flood into Michigan to take advantage of our tax-payer-sapping health insurance opportunities. Which states are they coming from? These states:
[Via: The Advisory Board Company]
Idaho. South Dakota. Oklahoma. Texas. Louisiana. Alabama. Mississippi. Florida. Georgia. South Carolina. Pennsylvania. Eleven states. There are another handful (Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Virginia, Maine, and New Jersey) who may join them. Seventeen in all. And their citizens are going to flood Michigan? Bagger, please.
This isn’t a done deal, though. Not by a long shot. We still have to get this through both the House and the Senate and, in Michigan, anything that even is even remotely connected to the Obama administration is going to face a fierce headwind from our tea party-controlled legislature. House Speaker Jase Bolger knows this, releasing this statement through his spokesperson Ari Adler:
Speaker Bolger remains cautious and concerned on behalf of taxpayers about the expansion of Medicaid. The Speaker’s goal is to determine how to provide long-term accessibility and long-term affordability for healthcare to Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers. The federal government has a history of working with states to start long-term programs while providing only short-term funding, and then sticking state taxpayers with the future financial liability that program creates. House Republicans aren’t raising questions as a way to object, we simply want to make sure we have the answers we need before making any decisions.
Pardon my disbelief when you say “House Republicans aren’t raising questions as a way to object”, Ari. Not buying it.
At any rate, this is a good deal no matter how you look at it. If Republicans walk away from covering over half of our uninsured Michigan citizens and saving upwards of $200 million a year initially, they can explain that to their constituents in 2014 when you can be very, very sure that Democrats across the state are going to be bringing it back up. I have a feeling these anti-tax zealots are going to see the light and do the right thing. But, don’t take any chances. Call your state Senator and your state Representative and make sure they will be supporting this. It’s really that important.