Week in Michigan Politics
8:40 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Jack talks about government shutdown, health care glitches, and Belle Isle

Week in Michigan politics interview for 10/2/13

This week in Michigan politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss the government shutdown, glitches in the launch of the health insurance marketplace, and the deal for the state to take over Detroit's Belle Isle.

How the shutdown could affect Michigan

A partial federal government shutdown enters its second day.

Republicans and Democrats still can't agree on an emergency spending bill that Republicans want to tie to defunding or delaying parts of the Affordable Care Act.

This is the first federal shutdown in 17 years.

Lessenberry says Michiganders still have some time until we really feel the affects of the shutdown.

“If it goes two weeks, people will start feeling real pain and if it goes a month, the state will be in real difficulty, a lot of workers will be furloughed,” Lessenberry says. “And perhaps more urgently, a lot of low-income people who need help from the government—people who are on temporary assistance and needy families, and the food assistance program—that money might not be there for them.”

Computer glitches prevent Michiganders from shopping for health care

The Affordable Care Act is not immediately affected by the shutdown, and yesterday was the first day people could sign up for health insurance via online exchanges. But there were some hiccups

Lessenberry says many people couldn’t sign up because of temporary computer glitches.

“Millions of people were expressing interest and signing up or getting more information about the Affordable Care Act,” Lessenberry says. “It’s sort of ironic that at a time when Republicans are trying to end this or close it down there are clearly millions and millions of people who are very interested in taking part.”

Lessenberry says polls show that 56 percent of people do not want Obamacare repealed.

“So we have kind of a cognitive dissonance going on between the people and the politicians, ” Lessenberry says.

State to take over Detroit's Belle Isle

After there was drama between Detroit City Council and the governor a few months ago about the state taking over Belle Isle, it looks like the state is going to step in after all.

The state of Michigan has signed a deal to lease Detroit’s Belle Isle. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will run Belle Isle as a state park, saving Detroit an estimated $4 million a year in maintenance costs.

Lessenberry says while this city will save money, this will also help the city’s police force.  

“[Belle Isle] had 22 policemen devoted to this park which is almost 1,000 acres large, and those policemen can certainly be used elsewhere.”