Michigan Republicans, Obamacare, Tea Party — August 26, 2013 at 8:28 am

ACTION: Speak now in support of Michigan Medicaid expansion


Or forever hold your peace.

I know, I know … there’s been talk of a vote in the Michigan Senate on Medicaid expansion for months. But this time, it’s possible it could actually happen this week. Which means everyone who supports Michigan Medicaid expansion needs to tell their Senators how they feel.

Tea Party groups in Michigan have been screaming their heads off to their Senators in opposition, which is why there are two “alternative” proposals to Medicaid expansion up for a vote, too. But the so-called free-market solutions proposed by Senator Bruce Caswell and Senator Patrick Colbeck are no solution at all for people who already can’t afford health insurance — the nearly 500,000 Michiganders Medicaid expansion would help.

These proposals are simply an attempt to side-step anything related to Obamacare, such as Medicaid expansion, and mollify Tea Party extremists who back Sen. Caswell and Sen. Colbeck. The proposal presented by Sen. Caswell is so ludicrous it would cost Michigan more money and could deliver fewer health benefits than Medicaid expansion.

There’s only one real Medicaid expansion bill on the table: the slightly revised version of HB 4714 passed by the House months ago. This bill would allow Michigan to accept Federal funding already set aside to help provide coverage for the uninsured. This means nearly 500,000 Michiganders would have access to continuity of care only a primary care physician can provide, instead of relying on emergency rooms for care, which costs the rest of us money. Governor Rick Snyder pointed this out in a recent op-ed in support of Medicaid expansion, along with other benefits. Plus, Medicaid expansion would bring an estimated 18,000 jobs and $2 billion in to Michigan by 2016, while saving the state an estimated $1 billion over 10 years.

Medicaid expansion is not a hand-out, as conservatives and extremists claim. Most of the people who would be eligible are the working poor, veterans, seniors and children. The way I see it, refusing them access to health insurance is nothing short of heartless.

Which plan makes sense to you? One that costs Michigan money or, like Sen. Colbeck’s, makes people who can’t afford health insurance buy health insurance or continue to go without? Or a program that would provide better, more cost-efficient care and bring revenue and jobs into the state?

Unless you’re an extremist who simply doesn’t care about people’s lives or the state’s economy, I guess this plea isn’t for you.

Otherwise, it’s time to speak out. Tell your Senator to vote YES on HB 4714. If your Senator is a Republican, make sure he or she knows that members of the Tea Party aren’t the only ones who will be voting in the next election.

There are two ways to be heard:

Join the Michigan Nurses Association in Lansing on Tuesday, Aug. 27 starting at 10:30 a.m. First, there’s an event with the MNA’s coalition partners in Room 405 of the Capitol and then everyone will move to the Senate gallery to watch the Senate session. For information or to RSVP, contact Cameron Fure at cameron.fure@minurses.org or (517) 853-5511.

Call your Senator and say you support true Medicaid expansion and urge a YES vote on HB 4714.

The time is now. Let’s make this happen.

[Photo courtesy of the Michigan Nurses Association.]