Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat March 23, 2013

The week in review: Medicaid, health care exchange, right to work, more Detroit corruption

Week in review interview

This “week in review” Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss a state house subcommittee’s rejection to expand Medicaid, how Michigan will be run under a federal health exchange, how universities are going under scrutiny for negotiating new, long term contracts before Michigan’s right to work law goes into effect, and how a city pension attorney in Detroit and a former trustee were indicted for bribery.

Medicaid expansion rejected in house subcommittee

A state house subcommittee this week rejected a Medicaid expansion that would have provided health coverage for nearly a half-million Michiganders.  

If the state were to approve the Medicaid expansion, the program would be 100 percent federally funded for the first few years. After that, Michigan would pick up 10 percent of the cost of the expansion.

Lessenberry says, “Health care experts say this would actually save money because these folks tend to go to hospital emergency rooms for primary care and those costs get passed along to those with health insurance.”

Lawmakers failed to make deadline to have state run health exchange.

In other health news, lawmakers failed to vote on a measure to allow Michigan to run its own health care exchange to help residents shop for health insurance online. Because lawmakers didn’t vote on the measure before the end of the week, the state will now have a federally run health exchange.

Lessenberry says, “In the case of the health care exchange, the mind blowing thing is that the federal government is going to do this anyway, and instead of them giving us $31 million to do it, we are going to pay them $9 million to do it for us.”

Lawmakers threaten to cut funding to universities over union contracts

State lawmakers are trying to cut funding to schools and universities that agree to new union contracts before the state’s new right-to-work law takes effect.

Two budget panels this week voted to cut funding to some universities by 15-percent and deny grant money to school districts.

The University of Michigan and Wayne State Universities are the institutions getting the greatest heat over this.

Lessenberry says, “The fact of the matter is the right to work legislation that passed last December hasn’t taken effect yet. It doesn’t take effect fully until the middle of next week.” He adds, “The tragic thing is the real losers of course would be the students.”

More Detroit officials accused of corruption under Kilpatrick administration

A city pension attorney in Detroit and a former trustee were indicted for bribery this week. As the Detroit News reports,

“Two city pension fund officials were indicted Wednesday and accused of participating in a widening bribery scandal involving kickbacks, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, free trips and a Christmas basket stuffed with cash.”

Lessenberry says, “It’s sort of a continual extension of the tragedy that is Detroit and of the corrupt mess that was the Kilpatrick administration.”