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Medicaid expansion in Michigan: Gov. wants it - Legislature... not so much

A doctor with a stethoscope on a young boys naked chest (he's wearing pants though)
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Backers of state funding for physician training say Michigan faces a shortage of 20,000 doctors in the next decade.

Part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) calls for an expansion of the Medicaid program, but some state legislators and governors are resisting the expansion.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is NOT one of those governors resisting.

When he announced his support for the expansion last month, he said it was about being "financially responsible."

Republicans in the Michigan Legislature, however, seem to disagree.

More from Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press:

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to expand Medicaid to nearly 500,000 Michigan residents, is not getting a warm reception in the state House of Representatives. The Appropriations subcommittee handling the Department of Community Health budget passed the funding document without the Medicaid expansion, as well as other Snyder proposals, including: dental services for low income children, health and wellness initiatives, mental health and substance abuse services for veterans and an infant mortality program.

Gov. Snyder said the expansion is not dead yet. He hopes to convince legislators that the expansion is a good idea.

Republicans in the state House said they didn't include Medicaid expansion money in this draft of the budget bill because there is no agreement to accept the expansion yet.

More from MLive:

“We have a number of steps to go through in this process, in both the House and the Senate,” said Ari Adler, a spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.Bolger has said he is “appropriately skeptical” of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

In the past, House Speaker Bolger has expressed his concern that the federal government wouldn't hold up their end of the bargain and the state would be left with the bill.

Currently, the government sponsored health insurance program is only available to people with low incomes who meet certain criteria.

Starting in 2014, almost all individuals age 65 and under who are at 133 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible - that is - they'll be eligible in states that accept Medicaid expansion.

This 'will they or won't they' scenario was started when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act last summer. The court upheld most of the Act, but said the Medicaid expansion portion of the Act can be accepted or rejected by the states.

So the highly politicized debate around the Affordable Care Act continues, and Republicans in Michigan, who have resisted implementation of the Act, say they still need convincing to go with this part of it.

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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