Uncategorized — June 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

There’s still hope for Medicaid expansion in Michigan


Governor Snyder is calling in the cavalry to urge legislators to do the right thing. Add your voice, too.

In the words of Monty Python (sort of), it’s not dead yet. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, Governor Rick Snyder has spoken with U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to find a way to get the expansion passed in Michigan. The two reportedly discussed a time for someone from HHS to visit Michigan to talk with legislators.

While Michigan Democrats support Medicaid expansion — which would provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Michiganders and bring billions of dollars into the state — Republicans remain recalcitrant. They have unfounded fears that Michigan will get stuck with the bill, even though the federal government pays 100 percent of the cost through 2017 then gradually scales its payment back to 90 percent by 2020.

Governor Snyder understands the positive impact insuring more Michiganders will have on public health, not to mention the state’s budget. It would also bring more jobs and revenue into the state within just two years. I’ve written about the positive economic implications here in the past.

The Governor has proposed putting a portion of projected cost savings from insuring the uninsured into a fund to pay for future costs of Medicaid expansion. He predicts the fund will cover costs through 2035. I personally think the potential cost savings and revenue could help fund the program even longer.

Michigan Republicans are being short-sighted. What’s more, they’re certainly not doing what’s in the best interests of Michigan’s citizens. This includes an estimated 25,000 veterans who would benefit from Medicaid expansion, according to a recent report by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

David Parr, a small business owner and board member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, sees the big picture. He wrote an op-ed for the Observer & Eccentric supporting Medicaid expansion.

Parr said, in part:

Citizens who receive the health care they need are healthier, have an improved quality of life, and contribute more to the economy…. Without Medicaid expansion, Michigan will continue to see high numbers of uninsured people seeking uncompensated care, the cost of which is shifted to businesses (businessmen look at the health insurance bill) as well as to the insured (all of us have seen our deductibles, copays and our share of the health insurance premium rise rapidly). So who is paying more now? We are all paying for this right now.

Medicaid expansion really should be a no-brainer. The federal government wants to give Michigan the money to insure more residents. All the Michigan legislature has to do is say yes.

Governor Snyder is eager to see Medicaid expansion adopted in Michigan before the legislature begins its summer break in two weeks. There’s a deadline to accept the federal funding, so time is of the essence.

Medicaid expansion matters to Michigan. Just ask Clara, who shared her story of what it’s like living without health insurance.

It’s this simple: Medicaid expansion the right thing to do for the people and the economy of our state.

Have your voice heard. Contact your state legislators today and ask them to say YES to Medicaid expansion.