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The week in Michigan politics: Medicaid expansion, violent crime, Detroit bankruptcy mediation

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This week in Michigan politics Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the Medicaid expansion, crime rates in Detroit and Flint and the mediation of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Medicaid expansion

Governor Rick Snyder has signed the Medicaid expansion into law.

The measure will extend government-sponsored health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income Michiganders through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Lessenberry says this now qualifies people who make 133 percent over the federal poverty level. That’s about $15,000 a year for a single persona and a little over $31,000 for a family of four.

The expansion will add about 325,000 people to the Medicaid rolls which will eventually extend to around a half million people.

Lessenberry says this won’t go into effect until next spring. At that time people who are uninsured might have to pay a fine of about $95 a month.

He adds that Michigan doesn’t have to pay for Medicaid until 2017 and will never have to pay more than 10 percent.

Flint and Detroit have highest national violent crime rates per capita

The FBI released the latest violent crime data for 2012. Flint saw an overall rise in violent crime. The city reported 2,774 violent crimes in 2012. Detroit saw a small drop in violent crime with around 2,123 incidents in 2012.

Lessenberry says these statistics only count reported crimes, so there are actually more happening. But he says the numbers are still alarming.

“In Detroit the situation is so hopeless now it takes the police an hour to come, even when there’s a murder,” Lessenberry says.

Lessenberry says it’s clear both of these cities have a problem.

He says when he’s spoken to criminologists about how to fix the problem, they have three solutions: “You need more jobs, you need more cops on the streets and you need fewer guns available.”

Detroit bankruptcy mediation process begins

In Detroit, the mediation portion of the city's bankruptcy began yesterday.

The city and its creditors are trying to find some common ground outside court.

Lessenberry says this process will help determine how fast or slow the bankruptcy process takes.

Right now five judges are mediating with creditors and the city to make a deal.

“A lot of this will turn on whether creditors think they can get more money this way or by going through a bankruptcy process where it’s all sort of a gamble,” Lessenberry says.  “Also, if they were to settle now or in the near future they will get whatever money they are going to get a lot faster probably than going through a bankruptcy process. It’s not at all clear to what extent this will be successful.”

Christina began her career in radio at Michigan Radio while a student at the University of Michigan. She was a producer and researcher for The Todd Mundt Show, and then hosted Weekend Edition.
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