How much more time can they possibly need? Oh, and didn’t they claim they were working on this while they’re on vacation this month?
This is getting ridiculous.
After gaveling in and out of session in just 10 seconds earlier this week, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said Senate Republicans are going on a retreat “in a week or so to discuss how best to go forward” with Medicaid expansion, says an article in Crain’s Detroit Business.
A retreat? Why do Senate Republicans need to go on a retreat to discuss an issue that’s been in play for months? What could they possibly have to discuss that they can’t do in Lansing, during a legislative session like the one they blew off this week?
In response to criticism for not holding a vote, here’s what Richardville had to say according to the article in Crain’s Detroit Business:
If you don’t give people a reasonable chance to look at these different proposals and provide input, then it’s not fair to the people of the state of Michigan.
FAIR? What’s not fair is making nearly 500,000 low-income Michiganders wait to find out if they’ll gain coverage under Medicaid expansion — a program that’s initially funded by the federal government and stands to save the state millions of dollars, not to mention thousands of lives — or continue to go without life-saving medical care. And how can people give input if the retreat is only for Senate Republicans? How is that fair?
Was it fair that Michigan Republicans pushed through Right-to-Work (For Less) legislation in record time, violating the state’s Open Meetings Act in the process? Was it fair that they voted yes to protect livestock in days but have taken months to pass Medicaid expansion?
None of those things are fair. And the deliberate tactics to delay a vote on Medicaid expansion are perhaps the most unfair of all. Because they’re sneaky and underhanded, if you ask me.
While the a Senate-amended version of Medicaid expansion passed by the House awaits a vote, two alternatives are on the table — alternatives that would do nothing to expand Medicaid but would, instead, charge the working poor, seniors and veterans for health insurance they already can’t afford.
One of those proposals was presented by Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who calls it a “patient-centered solution,” even though it does nothing to help patients. Then again, as a Tea Party-backed legislator, Sen. Colbeck is probably listening to the hue and cry of people like Todd Courser, former candidate for Michigan Republican Party chair, who e-mailed supporters asking them to urge a no vote on Medicaid expansion in the Senate. Oh, and Courser said this in his e-mail, too:
This is a call to arms! We need a group of Patriots who will primary these Republican Senators who are consistently voting like Democrats.
Charming. While Michigan Democrats and some Republicans want to enact life-saving Medicaid expansion, others are hinting at violence. Because if a bill has anything to do with Obamacare, like Medicaid expansion does, what’s good for the people of Michigan doesn’t matter if you’re a conservative, apparently.
Sen. Richardville has said a vote on Medicaid expansion is likely in the Senate when it returns to regular session August 27 — which means there’s still time for the voices of reason to be heard.
Monday, August 19, the Michigan Democratic Party is holding a rally in support of Medicaid expansion starting at 10:30 a.m. The event is at the GOP Victory Center at 29635 Plymouth Rd. in Livonia. Capacity is limited, so if you want to attend please contact Field Organizer Robin Edwards at (517) 643-0529. The primary focus of the rally is to call attention to Sen. Colbeck’s alternative plan. His plan, and the one put forth by Sen. Bruce Caswell, would actually cost the state of Michigan more money than Medicaid expansion would over time.
Contact your Senator.Do it now, and let him or her know that Medicaid expansion is the only way to help Michigan’s citizens and its economy. Alternative bills simply aren’t an alternative.
[Image courtesy of the Michigan Nurses Association.]