affordable care act

Opinion
9:47 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The astonishing hypocrisy of Medicaid opponents

Lessenberry commentary for 8/29/2013

You know by now that the Michigan Senate has finally voted to approve expanding Medicaid benefits.

The vote, which came Tuesday night after months of struggle, means that eventually nearly half a million of our citizens will have at least basic health care, people who don’t have it now.

The cost to the state itself will be nothing for three years, and only a pittance afterwards. The benefits in terms of human decency and a healthier workforce, enormous.

Those who opposed Medicaid expansion said they didn’t think we should burden future generations with another “entitlement cost.” Many of them also admitted their opposition was based on their hatred of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which they continue to oppose even though it was passed by Congress, passed Constitutional muster with the Supreme Court, and essentially ratified by the voters in last year‘s presidential election.

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Opinion
9:32 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Consider more carefully who we quote on questions of law and policy

Jack Lessenberry's essay.

I just learned something important I thought I should share with you. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional after all.

Yes, I know that the United States Supreme Court, in a majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, said it was constitutional, and that they have the ultimate legal authority to decide that.   But Joan Fabiano says they are wrong, and some media outlets think her views are worth repeating.

Fabiano, who is often described as a “prominent Tea Party activist,” isn‘t exactly a lawyer.

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Politics & Government
10:04 am
Fri August 16, 2013

In this morning's news: the Affordable Care Act, Detroit's legal fees, and the Ford C-Max

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Affordable Care Act provides healthcare counselors

Low income Michigan residents will soon have help navigating their new insurance options.  According to Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody, four groups in the state, including Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, are training employees to counsel individuals on their Obamacare choices.  The Affordable Care Act goes into effect on January 1st but people will have two months to enroll.

Detroit's bankruptcy is costly

Though Detroit's creditors may never be paid back, the city's lawyers and consultants stand to make a lot of money.  The Detroit Free Press has reported that the legal fees could reach $100 million.  But Michigan Radio's Lester Graham reports that the total could eventually double that or even more.

Ford C-Max not as efficient as advertised

The Ford Motor Company has had to adjust its reported gas mileage for the C-Max after it previously overstated the figure.  Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports that Ford advertised a 47 mpg for the C-Max. Consumer Reports magazine tested the vehicle and reported an average 37 mpg.

Health
2:56 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

"Navigators" picked to guide Michiganders through health plans tied to the Affordable Care Act

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Four groups have been tapped by the federal government to help low income Michiganders navigate their way through the new federally mandated health insurance market.

The new health insurance marketplace is set to open on October 1st. About a million Michiganders without insurance will have to pick among a dozen or so health plans.

To help them, the federal government has picked four groups to serve as “navigators”.

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Health
12:14 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Michigan spending little on advertising Affordable Care Act

A wheelchair in a hospital.
photo by Anna Strumillo Phuket - Thailand www.fotopedia.com

Only five states will spend less per capita than Michigan to spread the word about the federal health care law, the Associated Press reported.

From the AP:

“Michigan's $5.7 million in outreach spending amounts to 58 cents per resident. That's far less than states that are embracing the Affordable Care Act.”

Across the country, states and the U.S. government are pumping out advertising campaigns to get people familiar with changes under the Affordable Care Act. Billions of dollars from state and federal coffers alike are expected to be spent on getting the word out on new requirements, as well as the health insurance exchanges opening on October 1.

But according to the AP, Michigan has declined money the majority of federal funding for the promos:

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11:32 am
Tue July 16, 2013

When it comes to the federal pool of money, Michigan is a giver, not a taker

Lead in text: 
Michigan is a net giver when it comes to dollars leaving the state in federal taxes. According to the Economist, from 1990 to 2009, $1.23 trillion went out of the state in federal taxes, while $1.03 trillion in federal spending came into the state during that time frame.
  • Source: Economist
  • | Via: Michael Olson - American Public Media
Where federal taxes are raised and spentSOME American states receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes; others receive less. Over twenty years...
Politics & Government
10:14 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Medicaid expansion tops to-do list before Legislature’s summer break

Debate in the Michigan Senate turned to school bullying.
user cedarbenddrive Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration is working to wrap up a deal with the Legislature this week to extend Medicaid coverage to thousands more low-income families in Michigan. Republicans remain divided on the proposal.

It took a bipartisan vote of Republicans and Democrats to get the expansion through the state House last week and it will take a similar coalition to get the bill approved this week by the state Senate.

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Politics & Government
11:44 am
Thu June 13, 2013

State lawmakers a step closer to approving Medicaid expansion, overhaul

The chamber of Michigan's House of Representatives in Lansing. Leaders in the Michigan legislature and Governor Granholm are close to an agreement on the budget.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to expand Medicaid in Michigan after months of debate. A state House panel approved the measure yesterday, and the full House is expected to vote on it today.

Republicans on the committee were split on the legislation. Many said they were not willing to support legislation that would further entrench the federal Affordable Care Act in Michigan. 

The federal government says it’ll foot the entire bill for Medicaid expansion through 2016, and at least 90 percent after that.

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Health
1:18 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Michigan residents could lose insurance

Up to half a million Michigan residents could lose their insurance if Medicaid is not expanded.

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.

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Health
5:40 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Insurance companies apply to provide Affordable Care Act coverage to Michiganders

Medical diagnostic equipment
Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

  More than a dozen insurance companies want to be part of a health care exchange that provides coverage to Michiganders under the new federal health care law.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, McLaren, United Healthcare and ten other insurance companies have applied to be part of the new health care exchange.

Beginning in October, Michiganders will be able to use a federally run exchange to compare the health care plans.  It’s all part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," which takes effect in 2014.

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Health
1:22 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Confused by the Affordable Care Act? 3 things every Michigander should know about healthcare

A flow cart explaining how the exchanges will work.

It’s coming.

In just six months, the Affordable Care Act will be going into full-effect. While many changes are already in place, 2014’s the big year for the law — it’s the year when all citizens are required to get insured.

But what if you already have insurance? How will you know what subsidies you’re eligible for? And where do we find these subsidies?

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Health
1:22 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

What's happening with Medicaid in Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder.
Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration.

The Michigan Legislature is getting closer to approving a state spending plan.

On Wednesday, the state Senate passed a education funding bill. And after lawmakers come back from the Mackinac Policy Conference, a broader budget is slated to pass next week.

But so far, debate on proposed appropriations have been mostly divided on party lines.

One issue on the partisan divide: Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal healthcare law called for broadening health insurance coverage to low-income adults — including some 400,000 in Michigan.

Out of 30 Republican governors, only six supported the expansion. Gov. Rick Snyder was one of them.

"Expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save precious tax dollars,” Snyder said in a press release in February. "This makes sense for the physical and fiscal health of Michigan."

But federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid has been left out of the Republican-supported budget, running counter to Snyder’s recommendation.

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Health
12:33 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Low-income Michiganders target of new health insurance cooperative

Consumers Mutual hopes to cover people across the state.
user Laura4Smith Flickr

37,000 low-income Michiganders and small-business customers may be eligible for health coverage through a new health insurance cooperative, the Lansing State Journal reports.

With $72 million in federal funding, Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan is an alternative health care option for families and businesses looking for coverage after provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect January 2014.

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Politics & Government
8:16 am
Wed April 17, 2013

In this morning's news: Road repair plan, Flint dumps DWSD, insurance for addicts

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

House committee works on road repair plan

A state House committee is working on a $1.6 billion plan to pay for repair and maintenance on Michigan's roads.

"The plan would result in higher fuel taxes and driver fees. But it would also eliminate the six percent Michigan sales tax on fuel purchases," Rick Pluta reports.

Flint dumps contract with DWSD

"The city of Flint is dumping its contract with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Flint emergency manager Ed Kurtz signed a contract yesterday to get the city’s water from a new pipeline that’s being built from Lake Huron to Genesee County...A spokesman says the Detroit water department will have to look at its options  to try and recoup investments made to Flint’s water system," reports Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody.

Michigan addicts become eligible for insurance

Nearly 88,000 drug and alcohol addicts in Michigan will become eligible for insurance starting in 2014.

"Michigan health officials say the state's substance abuse care system will be able to handle the surge of people who will become eligible for alcohol and drug addiction treatment under the federal Affordable Health Care Act," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
9:01 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Commentary: Sick leave

Lessenberry commentary for 4/2/13

For as long as I can remember, the Republican Party has stood for local control. They don’t like Washington telling the states what to do. When Democrats have been in control in Lansing, they didn’t like the state meddling in local matters. Today, this continues to be true in one sense.

It’s clear that the Republicans running our legislature don’t like the federal government setting health care policy for the states. That’s why they’ve refused for two years to establish a state registry to help match Michiganders who will now need to buy health insurance with various private care providers.

Basically, those running our legislature want to pretend that the Affordable Care Act is going away soon. Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was fully constitutional. Never mind that the last presidential election was fought largely on that issue, and President Obama was decisively reelected.

They so hate higher levels of government telling lower levels what to do, that they refused to create a health care registry, even though this means that Washington will create one for us anyway, and we will lose millions as a result.

Well, you might figure that if the Republicans believe this that strongly, they’d be against meddling with employment policies set by local units of government.  But you’d be wrong. At least, that is, when it comes to benefits for workers.

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Politics & Government
4:04 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Snyder still confident Legislature will accept Medicaid expansion

A state House subcommittee has stripped a provision from a budget bill to expand Michigan’s Medicaid program.

The money to add more than 400 thousand people to Medicaid would come from the federal government under the new national healthcare law.

Some Republicans say they don’t trust Washington to keep that promise or that they want to see some changes to Medicaid before they’ll support it.

Roger Martin is the spokesman for a coalition of businesses and healthcare providers that supports the expansion. He says concerns that the federal government will eventually cut off the money is unfounded.

“I can’t name one instance where the federal government has made a promise in law, that was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Congress and the president had, and then pulled the plug on. I can’t name one. So basically I think it’s a Trojan horse argument.”

Governor Rick Snyder says he expects the Legislature will ultimately accept federal money to expand Michigan’s Medicaid program

“This is just a part of the legislative process. There are usually some challenges. But, again, the track record’s good about overcoming barriers. Do you get everything you want? Not necessarily, but you work hard and achieve the goals that really count – relentless positive action.”

Governor Rick Snyder called for the Medicaid expansion in his new budget proposal. He considers the subcommittee action a temporary setback.

Politics & Government
4:03 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Medicaid expansion in Michigan: Gov. wants it - Legislature... not so much

Backers of state funding for physician training say Michigan faces a shortage of 20,000 doctors in the next decade.
user Laura4Smith Flickr

Part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) calls for an expansion of the Medicaid program, but some state legislators and governors are resisting the expansion.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is NOT one of those governors resisting.

When he announced his support for the expansion last month, he said it was about being "financially responsible."

Republicans in the Michigan Legislature, however, seem to disagree.

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Stateside
5:35 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

The Affordable Care Act is coming

Governor Snyder signed a law aimed at protecting doctor's if they say "I'm sorry" after a failed medical procedure.
user the consumerist Flickr

Like it or not- for it or against it - Obamacare is coming, and coming soon.

The Affordable Care Act requires that most Americans carry some form of health insurance beginning next January or pay a fee. And by October 1, less than seven months from now, states need to have health care exchanges in place where consumers can buy the required insurance.

Last week, the State House agreed to let the state spend a federal grant worth nearly $31 million to help set up that health care exchange.

What would it mean for Michigan to partner with Uncle Sam in running this exchange?

For that answer, we spoke with Helen Levy. Levy is a research associate professor at the Institute for Social Research, the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, and the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

Politics & Government
3:07 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Michigan House votes to spend federal money on health care exchange

Freedom Works has this map of states that plan to adopt a state exchange or a state-federal exchange. Does the map look familiar? Michigan could turn light blue yet.
FreedomWorks

The Affordable Care Act requires that for those Americans who can afford it, they must carry some form of health insurance starting on January 1st, 2014 or pay a fee.

Online 'health care exchanges' will be set up to help people buy health insurance who can't access it through an employer. If the states don't set up an exchange, the federal government will.

Gov. Snyder wanted legislators to set up a state-run exchange last year, but Republican legislators refused to vote on it, hoping the federal health care law would be overturned.

That didn't happen and the timeline for a state run exchange has passed.

Now some state Republicans are reluctantly voting in favor of a setting up a federal-state run exchange.

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Health
3:55 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

State House panel votes to accept federal dollars to set up health care exchange

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

A bill to set up a healthcare exchange in Michigan has passed its first hurdle in the state Legislature. A House panel today voted to accept more than $30 million from Washington to set up the exchange.

It would be a partnership between the state and the federal government under the Affordable Care Act.

House Appropriations Chair Joe Haveman says the alternative would be a federal exchange with no state control.

“Although it may appear like it was a step in the wrong direction or endorsing Obamacare, this was the conservative vote. The other vote was the liberal vote to say ‘we want the federal government to take us over.’”

Governor Rick Snyder wanted an exchange run entirely by the state. But lawmakers did not act in time, and that’s now off the table.

The bill now goes to the floor of the state House.

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