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State Senate expected to vote on Medicaid expansion this week

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan could get a vote in the state Senate as early as tomorrow.   So could two other alternative plans to extend health insurance to low-income Michiganders.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says whichever route he and his colleagues decide to take, they have to address the issue this week.

“I think that we do have to move and move quickly,” says Richardville, “We have to make a decision either to move these bills – a bill, two bills, three bills, whichever – this week or not at all, because I think it would be a mistake to stretch this out into the fall.”

Richardville delayed a vote on Medicaid expansion in the spring so the Senate could make changes to the bill.   Those included a provision meant to protect Michigan taxpayers from having to foot the bill for the expansion.

Richardville says he believes the changes have led more of his GOP colleagues to support the plan.

Both alternative plans were offered by conservative Senators who oppose House Bill 4714, which would expand Medicaid through the federal Affordable Care Act. But GOP leadership in the state House says it would refuse to take up anything other than the Medicaid expansion bill.

That’s why Senator Patrick Colbeck, one of the alternative bill sponsors, says he’ll be unhappy if the Senate approves all three proposals this week.

“If we vote out all three bills, we may as well be voting for (House Bill) 4714. So I don’t think that’s a viable option,” says Colbeck.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he believes GOP support for the Medicaid expansion bill has grown in recent weeks.

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