Affordable Care Act, Michigan Republicans, Republican-Fail — February 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Republicans want to stop Michigan from informing people about state’s “Healthy Michigan” (Medicaid expansion) program


The history of Medicaid expansion in Michigan as part of the Affordable Care Act is a long and troubled one. The Republican-led legislature hemmed and hawed and finally passed it in a way that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars and unnecessarily delayed working poor Michiganders from obtaining coverage.

When they finally got around to passing it, they did it without giving the new law “immediate effect” which extended the delay by another three months. The year they passed it, they gave nearly all of their new laws – 94.3% – immediate effect. But not Medicaid expansion:

The program was anticipated to cover an additional 470,000 people but it has been so successful that 600,000 Michigan residents have coverage that would not have it without the program called “Healthy Michigan”. Now that enrollment has been so successful, the state Department of Health and Human Services is spending around $2 million a year to educate people about the services and how to increase their own personal health outcomes.

For Michigan Republicans, that’s a step too far:

The state Department of Health and Human Services would have to stop spending $2 million per year on advertising for the Healthy Michigan plan under a proposal the Senate Health Policy Committee considered on Tuesday.

“It would prohibit any state dept from expending state funds to advertise the Healthy Michigan plan,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, sponsor of Senate Bill 542. […]

“This component is one part of a broader strategy to help educate consumers about other options, about how to get people engaged with their own health,” said DHHS Medicaid Director Chris Priest. […]

Initially advertisements encouraged people to enroll. However, Priest said that with a relatively stable number of people on Healthy Michigan the advertisements now educate people on how to use the plan or focus on promoting healthy behaviors.

The legislation is Senate Bill 542. Please contact your state legislators and ask them to vote this thing down. They’ve already done enough damage.