Politics & Government
9:05 am
Sat May 11, 2013

The week in review: Expanding Medicaid, teacher union dues, schools in money trouble

Week in review interview

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss a bill to expand Medicaid, how school districts will no longer collect union dues from teachers, and the financial trouble with Buena Vista and Pontiac schools.

Bill introduced to expand Medicaid

Republicans in the state House have introduced a bill to overhaul and expand Medicaid in Michigan. Among other things, it would limit adults to four years in the program. 

The bill would also require the federal government to fund 100 percent of the expansion, however as of now, Washington is only offering to pay that amount for the first three years.

Lessenberry says “An even more controversial position is that when the federal government stops paying 100 percent, Michigan would be yanked out of the program and that is due to happen in 2017.”

School districts to stop collecting union dues

Michigan’s school districts can stop collecting union dues from teachers and other employees through payroll deduction. That ruling came from a federal appeals court this week. The Michigan Education Association says this isn’t about cost-control, it’s about politics.

Lessenberry says “this doesn’t have to do anything with cost control, because the salaries are the same no matter whether union dues are taken out or not. It has to do with attempts to limit the power and the economic clout of unions.”

Lessenberry adds that teachers unions such as the Michigan Education Association and American Federation of Teachers have been donating to candidates, causes and ballot proposals that they favor. Lessenberry says this is an effort for republicans and conservatives to block teachers unions from donating.  

Buena Vista and Pontiac schools in financial trouble

Buena Vista and Pontiac schools are in financial troubles. Kids in the small Buena Vista district near Saginaw have lost nearly a week of classes because the district ran out of money. Now Pontiac may be in the same boat. A recent report finds that Pontiac schools face a $37.7 million dollar deficit.