Michigan Senate passes Medicaid expansion 20-18

This is a victory for hard-working, low-income Michiganders, and everyone who advocated on their behalf.

It would be tempting to gloat, just imagining the tears of the zealots who fought so hard to deprive nearly 500,000 Michigan residents of access to health insurance.

But instead, I’ll just say THANK YOU. To every organization, citizen and legislator who took action to make this happen. Every rally, phone call, email and letter made a difference. A majority of Michigan legislators put their party politics aside and did what was best for Michigan and its residents.

I did not expect to be posting this happy news quite so soon. In fact, I wasn’t sure I’d be posting it at all, and I stand by everything I said about Sen. Patrick Colbeck. It’s extremists like him who are hurting Michigan and we need to fight against every one of them who is up for re-election in 2014.

The Medicaid expansion bill now returns to the House for concurrence (with a vote expected September 3) and there’s still work to be done to get the necessary waivers approved by the federal government. The fact that the Senate did not include immediate effect on the bill could cause implementation delays.

It’s not perfect, but it’s going to help nearly half a million Michiganders. And there’s no doubt this bill will become law with the signature of Governor Rick Snyder, given his consistent, full-throated support.

Most important, what was accomplished with the passage of Medicaid expansion proves that the good people of Michigan can do anything they put their minds to.

Congratulations to all on a job well done.

  • Archibald Mirenopteryx

    There’s only one fly in the ointment, but it’s a horsefly. What the legislature passed was *NOT* a clean Medicaid expansion, but one that attached a bunch of poison pills that make it not-Medicaid: co-pays, deductibles, work requirements, instant cutoffs. I.e., to make Medicaid look exactly like unemployment insurance. The trouble is, that is NOT Medicaid, and there’s no way that HHS grants a wavier and lets THAT horse out of the barn.

    Either all the poison pill amendments get stripped out in committee, or the whole thing becomes a Kabuki dance that changes nothing, but lets the Rs point the finger at Obama when Medicaid actually fails to get expanded.

    I’m watching this story VERY closely. As an unemployed Ph.D. with chronic health issues, it is THE determining factor whether I leave this state.

    • Amy Lynn Smith

      I agree, there’s still work to be done. I would have much preferred a clean Medicaid expansion bill, too, but that wasn’t going to happen. General consensus has been that HHS will grant the waivers, and they’ve said they’ll work with states as much as possible, but only time will tell. I’ll be keeping an eye on the next steps, too, as there’s still much more to come.

      • Archibald Mirenopteryx

        Actually, HHS is extremely unlikely to grant the waivers. Why would they, and turn Medicaid into UI? Adding co-pays and deductibles will essentially render it toothless…if you’re poor enough for Medicaid, you’re too poor to afford deductibles in the first place!…and adding work requirements and fixed lengths of coverage is just the icing on the cake. It violates nearly every tenet Medicaid was created under, and Sebelius has already said so in denying waivers to other states trying this.

        Far as I personally am concerned, it changes nothing – it’s all Kabuki to set up everyone from Snyder on down to get what they really want (no Medicaid expansion) but blame Sebelius and Obama for it.

        About this, I know what I’m talking about, simply because I’ve got a dog in this hunt: my life. It DEPENDS on knowing every in and out of this issue.

        • Amy Lynn Smith

          I honor your personal stake in this. I’ve been an advocate for expansion from day one. I don’t support asking more of people who already can’t afford health insurance, but I think for many people, some help will be better than none. I appreciate you sharing your story and your knowledge with me and everyone else. But I also want to see the final language of the bill as passed and see what CMS and HHS have to say. It’s to everyone’s benefit to make this work as well as possible.

          • Archibald Mirenopteryx

            Yes, and the larger struggle is important. My own stake is far more immediate and far more personal: I can’t fight for that sort of justice if I’m dead, after all.

            And you’re also right: the last chapter has yet to be written. It’s easy for me to predict what will happen if nothing changes from the current status quo, but this story has had enough strange twists and turns that even I can hardly predict how it will turn out in the end. I just have to keep my options open (and my natural cynicism and pessimism at least somewhat in check).

          • Amy Lynn Smith

            I certainly respect the immediacy of your own situation. I’m eager to see the final bill and hope for the best, but it’s hard not to feel a bit cynical, too, after all the game-playing that went on. Here’s to a good outcome. Be well.

  • judyms9

    The poison pills loaded into the bill are to insure that everyone who has to use the Medicaid expansion will be near death anyway. May there be karma for these mean-spirited, supercilious poops.

  • Ken Rasmussen

    Born and raised in MIchigan, now living in Austria, I can only applaud this first step
    towards “universal health care” something that I have benefited from, a program that saved my life, that keeps my wife and I covered till our deaths. Yes, just like social security, here in Austria they took a bite of my wage and a bite of your boss’s profits, but when you have have a stroke, like I have, the transport to hospital,
    the treatment and rehab are all covered. I certainly support all efforts to expand and open up availity to all. It may take a while….the Austrian Empire and Conservaties started it at the beginning of the 20th Century. Interrupted by Hitler,
    after the WWII, the social democrats revived it and established it for all Austrians
    and others who work and live in the country. Am a member of the SPÖ.

    Don’t dispair at any failures in the new regulations, just keep on working on it
    and never, ever give up the ship!!!

    Ken Rasmussen, Vienna, Austria born in Richmond, Michigan.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      Thanks, Ken. Great comment with much-needed encouragement for us to “chin up” as my dad used to say.
      Godspeed.

      - Chris

    • Amy Lynn Smith

      I second Chris’ thoughts, Ken. It’s good to remember that all worthy advances take time. Appreciate you weighing in!

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