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Advocates hope state will reverse new Medicaid policy

Inside the doctor's office.
Jennifer Morrow

Patient advocates, doctors, and hospital-affiliated insurance companies are asking the state to reconsider a decision to reduce the number of HMOs that are part the Medicaid program that serves low-income families.

“This is a disruption of the most-vulnerable population that you can disrupt,” said James Connelly, CEO of the Health Alliance Plan of Michigan. He says his customers are low-income African-Americans and immigrants from the Middle East who are not fluent in English. 

Hassan Jaber with the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services says many patients may have to change doctors, or treatment programs because of the change. He says that would be a particular hardship on people who are not fluent in English.  

“The network includes many private practitioners, Arabic-speaking practitioners,” said Jaber. “So, they may or may not be in any other options.” 

A state board approved the change today. 

The state Department of Health and Human Services says the decision will ensure more consistent access to health care.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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