Michigan Republicans — June 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Even money can’t talk sense into the Michigan GOP when it comes to Medicaid expansion


How can they claim to be fiscally responsible if they’re willing to throw away billions in savings and revenue?

If this doesn’t qualify as legislative malpractice, I don’t know what does. At the very least, it’s malfeasance.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Senate approved a state budget that did not include Medicaid expansion — even though the expansion is federally funded. According to the Detroit Free Press, two Republican Senators joined every Democrat in voting against the budget, to no avail.

But that’s not all. I’m not sure whether the Michigan GOP is being stubborn or stupid — or both — but report after report is demonstrating how much states could suffer financially by rejecting Medicaid expansion. The latest, a study by RAND Corp., shows that the 14 states threatening to opt out of Medicaid expansion stand to lose billions every year.

Here’s a good summary from the American Hospital Association:

An estimated 3.6 million fewer people would gain health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if 14 states were to opt out of the Medicaid expansion as proposed, according to a study published [June 3] in Health Affairs. In addition, those states would forego $8.4 billion annually in federal payments and collectively spend $1 billion more on uncompensated care in 2016 than they would if Medicaid is expanded, the study by RAND Corp. estimates.

‘Our analysis shows it’s in the best economic interests of states to expand Medicaid under the terms of the federal Affordable Care Act,’ said RAND mathematician and lead author Carter Price.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has said he will continue fighting for Medicaid expansion, reiterating that as recently as last week. I contacted his office today for a comment on what the state budget means to Medicaid expansion. Although I received no response, I did note this tweet today from his official account:

The tweet shared an opinion piece from today’s Detroit Free Press written by the CEOs of Michigan’s three largest health systems, urging state legislators to support Gov. Snyder’s plan for Medicaid expansion.

The authors’ plea included these facts:

Failing to accept federal support to provide health insurance to an estimated 450,000 working Michigan adults — including many veterans — will have serious consequences to our local economy. Michigan will forgo about $2.1 billion in economic activity and an estimated 18,000 new jobs generated by the additional federal dollars coming into the state’s health care system.

The piece goes on to point out that business organizations, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Association of Michigan and the Detroit Regional Chamber, all see the benefits of Medicaid expansion, too.

It seems everyone can see all the good Medicaid expansion will do for Michigan’s citizens. Everyone, that is, except for a vast majority of the Republican party that’s so blinded by their ideological opposition to all things Obamacare that they’ll punish virtually every Michigander by refusing Medicaid expansion.

The Michigan GOP seems to have forgotten that they weren’t elected only to represent the interests of their own party or their personal agenda. But in the case of Medicaid expansion, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

If that isn’t legislative malpractice, I don’t know what is.

Keep the pressure on. Contact your legislators to let them know Medicaid matters to Michigan.

[CC image credit: Alex Proimos | Flickr]