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Michigan House Democrats call for action on health care exchange

Michigan House Democrats

Since most of the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, Michigan has been facing the ongoing of issue of implementing a Michigan health care exchange.

While Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has long called for the state to move ahead with the exchanges, many Republicans in the legislature are pushing back.

There is also a call from Republican members of the legislature and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, to wait until after the election in November to move forward.

Kate Segal is the House Democratic Floor Leader and she represents Michigan’s 62nd House District.

Rep. Segal says waiting until after the November election to move forward with implementing the health care exchange is the wrong strategy. She says if the state waits it would lose out on “a significant portion of federal funds to set up an exchange.”

“We would significantly and mostly from the ability to set up the exchange and get one started. And we would lose out on some matching funds from Medicaid which would also be important,” Segal said.

If the state does not create an exchange before the January 2014 deadline, the federal government will set one up for the state, “and we don’t know what that would look like, but it would not enable us to be able to put together programs and packages with our insurers here in Michigan that helps our citizens the best it would be a federal model,” she said.

Gov. Snyder and Democratic lawmakers have found some common ground around these exchanges, but Segal says she would like to see the Governor work more closely with Democrats.

“The Governor has done his own work group meetings on the exchanges. We really haven’t been brought into that process, and we’d like to see more of that information exchanged so we can get forward and put a plan together that works for Michigan.”

Hearings begin tomorrow in Lansing on how Michigan will comply with the requirements under President Obama's new health-care system.

Zoe Clark is Michigan Radio’s Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.
Mercedes Mejia is a producer and the Director of Stateside.
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