Up to half a million Michigan residents could lose their health insurance if the legislature fails to expand Medicaid.
Low-income Michiganders covered by local health plans could lose their coverage in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. The law was written with the assumption states would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid.
But that’s not a guarantee in Michigan.
Don Hazaert of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare says there’s a lot to lose if Medicaid isn’t expanded.
“We have the potential to lose out in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings. We lose out on billions of dollars in stimulus,” Hazaert said. “Up to half a million people who should have coverage will not have coverage next year because of this. Folks do needlessly die when they don’t have the healthcare they need when they need it.”
The federal government would pay all the costs to expand Medicaid for the first three years. Hazaert says this could save the state over 200 million dollars.
He says most of the opposition to Medicaid expansion is rooted in party politics.
“There’s no question that if the legislature continues to block the expansion of Medicaid over partisan politics, there are going to be serious consequences to individuals and also to our economy. We’re talking about losing out on billions of dollars in potential economic stimulus through the Medicaid expansion.”
Governor Snyder has asked state lawmakers to expand Medicaid, but Republicans in the house are reluctant to support Obamacare.
-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom