Michigan Republicans, Obamacare — July 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Michigan Senate Republicans still stalling on Medicaid expansion


What do you expect? They spent 10 minutes on the job today.

Senate Republicans showed up to work this morning and did absolutely nothing.

Although the Detroit Free Press says the Senate Medicaid expansion work group is meeting privately twice a week to “tweak” the bill already passed by an overwhelming majority of the House, they still have nothing to show for it.

The work group says they plan to have a proposed bill to the Senate Government Operations Committee next week. The committee met today but took no testimony, and adjourned in 10 minutes.

So nothing was done. In other words, more stalling on a bill that would help nearly half a million Michiganders, bring funding into the state and increase revenue.

Maybe Michigan Senate Republicans are hoping their comrades in the U.S. House of Representatives will succeed in repealing Obamacare. Because that’s really what this is all about, isn’t it? Doing everything possible to put up roadblocks to Obamacare because, well, it’s Obamacare.

When repeal doesn’t happen (because it won’t), I shudder to think what kind of “tweaks” the work group will propose. I’d bet good money that their version of Medicaid expansion will put a greater burden on the working poor who desperately need Medicaid expansion because they can’t afford health insurance. Attach enough strings to it and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will never approve it. That would be just one more way Senate Republicans could say “no” to Medicaid expansion. And it would not surprise me at all to hear them subsequently claim, “Hey, we really tried. Just look how much time we spent trying to make this work.”

I’m just not convinced they want to make it work. Many Michiganders who can’t afford insurance put in long hours, working multiple jobs, yet some Republicans consider them “takers” and “moochers.” Maybe those Republicans should think about the optics here. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville earned $1,828 this week — for working a whole 90 seconds today, according to Working Michigan.

Think about that: One week’s salary for a Senator would pay for about three months worth of someone’s health insurance.

Senate Republicans adjourned today’s session immediately, doing no business — even though Senate Democrats were there and ready to vote. Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer had this to say:

The people of Michigan are absolutely fed up with the Senate Republicans so blatantly playing politics with an issue that will literally save lives as well as save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. How is the public supposed to trust the Legislature to work through the many difficult challenges in front of us when they see we can’t even pass something that nearly everyone agrees is the right thing to do?

The Governor’s own administration admits we’re quickly approaching the point in which it will simply be too late for Michigan to take action and the consequences of that would be disastrous.

The consequences of inaction aren’t political. They’re personal. This open letter to Senator John Pappageorge eloquently expresses exactly what’s at stake.

Contact your state Senator to voice your support for Medicaid expansion.

We can’t afford to let Medicaid expansion slip through Michigan’s fingers. Too many lives are at stake.

[Graphic courtesy of the Michigan Nurses Association.]