Medicaid expansion will hopefully lower the cost of health premiums and decrease the number of ER visits.
Gov, Rick Snyder believes that the proposed Medicaid expansion will a have a greater impact that just low-income residents.
(Related: Pending Benefits Legislation, Part 1)
“We’re talking about helping Michiganders. We’re talking about people with a real need,” he said. “We’re also talking about ourselves. What’s the problem? Today we have a broken system.”
Snyder engaged an audience of mostly doctors and nurses Livonia, urging them to contact their senators and support Medicaid expansion. It was one of the many stops Snyder made at health care facilities in the last week to garner support for the bill, which was stopped in the Senate.
(Related: Pending Benefits Legislation, Part 2)
“This is something that I thought was critical enough to get out on the road and engage the general public,” he said. “Too often, we can let a few people dominate a discussion. The issue we have in front of us is we have a problem with politics.”
Part of the Affordable Care Act, the expansion allows states to expand Medicaid to 133 percent of poverty starting in 2014. It would make available full federal financing for those eligible for Medicaid starting in 2014 through 2016, and would go down in financing until 2020, where 90 percent of financing will continue from the federal government.
(Related: Caregiver Burnout)
The expansion was approved by the House last month, 76-31, with both Democrats and Republicans voting “yes.” However, the Senate did not take up the bill before the summer recess, which Snyder criticized.
A work group of six senators will meet sometime this summer to discuss the legislation. In a release, Richardville said he does not consider the issue dead and plans to review it.
“A comprehensive plan for a healthy Michigan is critical to the well-being of our population and our state,” he said. “I look forward to reviewing their suggestions and sharing that information with my fellow legislators, the Governor and the Speaker (Jase Bolger, R-Marshall).”
Snyder believes approving the expansion in Michigan is imperative to help save money for hospitals, doctors and patients.
He said a number of people who cannot afford health care will go to a hospital emergency room, which isn’t the proper place for people with the common cold or other treatable ailments.
“Does anyone know anyone that likes going to the emergency room? The answer is no,” he said. “We like the people that are working there because they’re angels, they’re taking care of us.
“It’s a really important place, but it’s not a place for primary care.”
Snyder has toured several hospitals in the state, including Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. An online forum on the issue was scheduled to be broadcast Monday evening at Schoolcraft College.
David Spivey, CEO of St. Mary Mercy Hospital, said the hospital, as well as the St. Joseph Mercy Health System and Trinity Health all support the expansion.
“Medicaid expansion is really about three things in the state: to expand access to over 500,000 Michigan residents, the slow increase in health care premiums for employers, as well as to really steward our state resources and our tax dollars,” he said.
Christopher J. Berry is an elder law attorney Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.michiganelderlawattorney.com/ or call 248.481.4000