GOP-led Mich. Senate approves Medicaid expansion - New York News

GOP-led Mich. Senate approves Medicaid expansion

Posted: Updated:
Gov. Rick Snyder talks Tuesday about expanding the government health insurance program. Gov. Rick Snyder talks Tuesday about expanding the government health insurance program.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -

The state Senate narrowly voted Tuesday night to make more low-income adults eligible for Medicaid, a major step toward Michigan becoming the 24th state to accept a key component of the contentious federal health care law.

The Republican-led chamber, on a 20-18 vote, approved expanding the government health insurance program to nearly a half-million Michigan residents within a few years. Many are expected to be eligible in 2014 if the state receives federal approval.

The legislation now returns to the GOP-led House, which passed the bill in June and is expected to send it to Gov. Rick Snyder next week for his signature. The GOP governor, who strongly supports Medicaid expansion, had struggled to win backing in a Senate where many conservatives opposed to "Obamacare" have philosophical objections to expanding government.

"It's about helping 470,000 Michiganders have a better life," Snyder said during a Capitol news conference after the vote. "Going to the ER for your health care, while we have wonderful people in the ER, is not a good solution."

The Senate fell two votes short of giving the bill immediate effect, which may force new Medicaid recipients to wait until April for coverage instead of January. Snyder said he was hopeful the Senate would revisit the timing, asking "should we make people wait three more months?"

Medicaid expansion is part of a strategy to ensure nearly all Americans have health insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. It was designed to cover the neediest uninsured people but became optional for states because of a Supreme Court decision last year.

Many GOP-led states have declined the expansion, despite the U.S. government promising to cover the entire cost for the first three years and 90 percent later. Michigan is poised to become the seventh state led by a Republican governor to sign up.

The legislation won approval about 2 1/2 hours after the Senate fell one vote short on its first attempt, when Republican Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba surprised by voting "no." That allowed one of the fiercest opponents of the federal health care law, Sen. Patrick Colbeck from Canton Township, to not vote, preventing Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley from breaking a tie.

Casperson voted "yes" the second time around after the bill was amended to limit how much hospitals can charge the uninsured for medical care.

Pressure from advocates of Medicaid expansion had been building in order for the state to receive federal OKs before residents can enroll.

Medicaid already covers 1.9 million, or one in five, Michigan residents -- mainly low-income children, pregnant women, the disabled and some poorer working adults. The legislation would cover adults making up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or $15,500 for an individual and $26,500 for a family of three.

The bill includes GOP-written requirements that nondisabled enrollees pay some of their medical expenses after six months and pick up more costs after getting Medicaid for four years. They could lower their costs by not smoking or adhering to other healthy behaviors.

The newly eligible also would no longer be covered if savings from the expansion -- primarily from shifting state mental health costs to the federal government -- do not cover the state's cumulative costs. The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency estimates the expansion would stop in 2027.

Supporters contend that offering health insurance to more poor people will make them healthier and minimize their expensive trips to the emergency room, saving money throughout the health system and also helping businesses meet requirements under the health law.

"It's a benefit to every person in the state of Michigan, whether you're in that expanded Medicaid population or you're lucky enough to be one of us, who has taxpayer-funded health care," said Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, an East Lansing Democrat. "We know we all pay for uncompensated care in this state."

Opponents question such a large government expansion when the U.S. is trillions of dollars in debt and are suspicious of money-saving claims. Tea party and conservative activists say they will oppose Snyder's expected re-election bid because of his push to expand Medicaid coverage.

"The bottom line is we're spending more money," Colbeck said, calling the expansion "a path to a single-payer system where nobody gets control of their health care."

After the Senate adjourned in June without voting on Medicaid expansion, Snyder spent the summer traveling to Republican senators' districts to push publicly for the House bill, and pro-expansion allies paid for billboards calling out GOP senators to support the expansion.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville asked a workgroup to study the issue and held hearings that resulted in changes to the legislation -- none considered deal breakers with Democrats or the House.

Eight Republican senators and all 12 Democrats voted for the bill. Eighteen Republicans opposed it.

  • Tim SkubickMore>>

  • Skubick: On LBGT rights, top Mich. officials still waffle

    Skubick: On LBGT rights, top Mich. officials still waffle

    Monday, April 21 2014 8:36 AM EDT2014-04-21 12:36:32 GMT
    While the Snyder team was gloating last week about challenger Mark Schauer not having a specific plan to fix the roads, now comes the Lt. Governor who refuses to take a stance on extending civil rights to the gay community.
    While the Snyder team was gloating last week about challenger Mark Schauer not having a specific plan to fix the roads, now comes the Lt. Governor who refuses to take a stance on extending civil rights to the gay community.
  • Tim Skubick: Can Snyder win 2nd term despite raising taxes?

    Tim Skubick: Can Snyder win 2nd term despite raising taxes?

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:53 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:53:13 GMT
    After raising taxes during his first year as governor, Jim Blanchard ran the second time as the “Comeback Kid” and was victorious. Hum. Didn’t Gov. Rick Snyder raises taxes his first year in office? 
    After raising taxes during his first year as governor, Jim Blanchard ran the second time as the “Comeback Kid” and was victorious. Hum. Didn’t Gov. Rick Snyder raises taxes his first year in office? 
  • Tim Skubick: Could Virg Benero be eyeing a run for governor in 2018?

    Tim Skubick: Could Virg Benero be eyeing a run for governor in 2018?

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 9:55 AM EDT2014-04-15 13:55:02 GMT
    Don’t hawk those “Virg for Governor” bumper stickers on E-Bay just yet.
    Don’t hawk those “Virg for Governor” bumper stickers on E-Bay just yet.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:23 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:23:02 GMT
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had more than 300 jumps under his belt.
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had more than 300 jumps under his belt.
  • Easter Bunny train sparks New Jersey brush fires

    Easter Bunny train sparks New Jersey brush fires

    Fire officials say several small brush fires were ignited by a train carrying the Easter Bunny in northwestern New Jersey.
    A train carrying the Easter Bunny in northwestern New Jersey has ignited several small brush fires.
  • Cops: 73-year-old man shoots neighbor in dispute

    Cops: 73-year-old man shoots neighbor in dispute

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:37:28 GMT
    A 73-year-old Connecticut man will be appearing before a state judge after being charged with shooting his neighbor three times during an argument on Easter morning.
    A 73-year-old Connecticut man will be appearing before a state judge after being charged with shooting his neighbor three times during an argument on Easter morning.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • LIVE VIDEO: Hearing to decide if 3 of 4 face trial in mob attack on Steve Utash

    LIVE VIDEO: Hearing to decide if 3 of 4 face trial in mob attack on Steve Utash

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:58 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:58:28 GMT
    Three males ages 19 to 30 are in court for a hearing on whether they should stand trial for the severe beating of a suburban man who accidentally struck a 10-year-old with his pickup truck on Detroit's east side. WATCH LIVE COVERAGE.
    Three males ages 19 to 30 are in court for a hearing on whether they should stand trial for the severe beating of a suburban man who accidentally struck a 10-year-old with his pickup truck on Detroit's east side. WATCH LIVE COVERAGE.
  • 1 of 4 waives key hearing in Detroit mob attack on Steve Utash

    1 of 4 waives key hearing in Detroit mob attack on Steve Utash

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:52 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:52:13 GMT
    A 17-year-old charged with attempted murder in the beating of a Detroit-area motorist has waived his right to a probable cause hearing and will move his case directly to trial court.
    A 17-year-old charged with attempted murder in the beating of a Detroit-area motorist has waived his right to a probable cause hearing and will move his case directly to trial court.
  • Clutch Cargo's returns to religious roots

    Clutch Cargo's returns to religious roots

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:54 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:54:45 GMT
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices