Patient advocates and healthcare organizations are cheering Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to seek an expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the new federal healthcare law.
The expansion would eventually allow 450,000 people to be added to Medicaid, and sharply reduce the ranks of the un-insured in Michigan.
The governor says it would also reduce the overall cost of healthcare in Michigan. And part of the savings can be banked to cover Michigan’s future costs of the Medicaid expansion.
“This is about being financially responsible," said Snyder. "Just like you’d be setting up at home, let’s set up a health savings account here, to cushion for shocks, for unexpected events, and then to have a thoughtful stream of dollars to minimize costs for the long-term."
Health care groups, patient advocates, and some business groups also support the expansion.
They say unnecessary emergency room visits and people who wait to get treated are driving up the cost of care and the cost of health insurance.
Kris Nicholoff is with the Michigan Osteopathic Association. He says that would eventually almost cut in half the number of people in Michigan who don’t have health insurance.
“450,000 people will get coverage that don’t have it right now. Now, you’ve been to the University of Michigan’s football stadium? Four times that. Picture that right now – four times that full patients will receive care if we expand Medicaid," said Nicholoff.
The Medicaid expansion will be part of Governor Snyder’s budget proposal. It will be presented tomorrow. Then it has to be approved by the Legislature. The governor says the expansion will save money in the long-term.