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medicaid expansion

Yesterday I talked about Washington’s offer to expand Medicaid to many Michiganders who currently have no health insurance. The government has offered to make the program available to many poor, but not officially poverty-stricken, Americans.

States who participate will pay only a fraction of the cost. This would immediately provide health care to hundreds of thousands who don’t now have it, and be extremely beneficial to virtually everyone, including employers, who would have a healthier work force.

Though some states sensibly ratified this almost immediately, Michigan has dragged its feet, largely because of bitter ideological opposition to anything that seems to be “government” health care. I said yesterday that this was irrational and was harming our state.

But while I heard from many people who agreed, not everybody did. One woman said I just didn’t understand that this would be terrible because it would be an expansion of government. In fact, the Tea Party has denounced more Medicaid as tyranny.

Well, I think that’s nonsense; I don’t think extending an already existing benefit to more people is expanding government.

People around the world and right here in Michigan are rethinking money in order to ease financial woes, and they're doing it with local currency. On today's show we found out what it is, and where it's working.

And, we headed up north to a resort town where a vacation can lead to putting down roots and building a business.

Also, one of the co-founders of The Artist Lounge joined us to tell us about how her business is breathing new life into Pontiac.

And, the Farm Bill and food stamp programs expire at the end of September. We took a closer look at what this means for Michiganders receiving federal food assistance.

Also, we spoke with Micki Maynard about what she thinks the future of personal transportation will look like.

First on the show, a State Senate panel has voted to make more than 300,000 Michiganders eligible for Medicaid in 2014. And that's not all: the GOP-led Government Operations Committee said yes to two alternative plans.

So, from the Senate ticking off Governor Snyder by adjourning without voting on the House-passed Medicaid expansion plan to this Senate Panel serving up not one, not two, but three Medicaid proposals, it's a lot to keep track of.

We turned to Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing reporter Jake Neher for a little help in sorting this all out.

Governor Rick Snyder is applauding a state Senate panel for advancing a bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan. For weeks, Snyder has been trying to put pressure on lawmakers to vote to extend Medicaid benefits to hundreds of thousands of residents.

But the committee also approved two alternative proposals that also seek to extend coverage to low-income Michiganders. Those plans would not expand Medicaid.

Snyder says he’s not worried that the competing bills will peel votes away from the legislation he supports.

“That’s yet to be seen. In many respects, I’m not sure you have to say you can only vote for one bill. If you actually see value in more than one bill, why does that mean you can only vote for one?”

All three proposals now go to the full Senate. A vote on the issue is expected at the end of this month.

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

A State Senate panel has voted to make more than 300,000 Michiganders eligible for Medicaid in 2014. And that's not all: the GOP-led Government Operations Committee said yes to two alternative plans.

So, from the Senate ticking off Governor Snyder by adjourning without voting on the House-passed Medicaid expansion plan, to this Senate Panel serving up not one, not two, but three Medicaid proposals, it's a lot to keep track of.

We turned to Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing reporter Jake Neher for a little help in sorting this all out.

Listen to the full interview above.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A state Senate panel has approved legislation to expand Medicaid in Michigan. The bill would extend coverage to hundreds of thousands of residents through the Affordable Care Act.

The panel also advanced two alternative Medicaid proposals. Neither would expand Medicaid. But proponents say they would expand health care coverage – either through other state programs or the free market.

Senator Bruce Caswell  is sponsoring legislation that would create a state-run health care program for low-income residents who are not currently eligible for Medicaid.

Many months ago, the federal government offered the states an astonishing deal.  Washington would extend eligibility for Medicaid insurance to people who make up to a third more than the official poverty rate. We aren’t talking people who are well off.

Currently, Medicaid is available for a family of four making twenty-three thousand a year or less; this offer would enable the same family to be covered if they make up to a little over thirty-one thousand. That would mean almost half a million folks in Michigan now without health insurance would have it.

The cost to the state would be nothing at first, and never more than ten percent of the total. Economists say even when the state is paying ten percent, Michigan will actually save money, thanks to the benefits of having a healthier work force.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

State Senate committee approves Medicaid plans

A Michigan Senate committee has approved a plan to expand Medicaid.  The bill would allow thousands more Michigan residents to receive coverage.  Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher reports that the committee also approved two alternative bills that would not expand Medicaid. The proposed bills are expected to reach the Senate floor in late August.

Demolition of Willow Run Bomber Plan delayed

The Willow Run Bomber Plant has received an extension on its demolition deadline.  Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller reports that “the trust overseeing the property gave a non-profit group two extra months to raise 8 million dollars.” The Yankee Air Museum hopes to renovate and move into the space that helped inspire the “Rosie the Riveter” character.

Detroit Bulk Storage will halt pet coke shipments

Yesterday a hearing was held at Detroit City Hall about the storage of petroleum coke along the riverfront.  Detroit Bulk Storage has been piling the substance there for months without a permit. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports that local residents and organizations voiced their opposition to storing the pet coke in the city.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss a Senate panel’s vote on a plan for Medicaid expansion, licensing delays for wolf hunting, and what to expect from Detroit’s mayoral election.

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Bankruptcy hearings begin

Municipal bankruptcy hearings began yesterday in Detroit.  Federal Judge Stephen Rhodes says the bankruptcy process will progress in federal court.  Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that Detroit city workers and retirees were hoping to argue the case against cutting pensions in state court. 

State Senate finished with Medicaid draft

A state Senate work group has released a plan to expand Medicaid in Michigan.  The group has worked for weeks since the state Senate adjourned for summer recess.  Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher reports that “officials in Governor Rick Snyder’s administration are already embracing the revised plan.” 

Detroit could get new sports complex

Michigan economic officials are supporting plans for a new sports arena in Detroit.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports “The project includes a new hockey arena for the Detroit Red Wings.  It would be within walking distance of the city’s football and baseball stadiums.”

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Medicaid bill expected next week

The Medicaid expansion could reach a vote in the Michigan State Senate in late August.  A first draft of the bill may be ready by next week.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that Governor Rick Snyder “has said waiting until late August could jeopardize the state’s ability to get federal approval.”

Palisades Nuclear Plant at risk of closing

A new study puts the Palisades Nuclear Plant on a list of 12 plants at risk of closing before their licenses expire.  The study was produced by Mark Cooper at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School.  The list weighs factors such as repairs and safety improvement, and also includes the Davis-Besse plant near Toledo.  Michigan Radio’s Lindsay Smith reports “Cooper says nuclear plants are simply more expensive to run safely as they age. Plus the falling price of renewable energy and natural gas make nuclear power less competitive.”

Michigan’s unemployment rate jumps

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate increased to 8.7%.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports, “There are actually about 9 thousand more people working in Michigan.  But there are also more people who told the government’s monthly employment survey that they are looking for work.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There could be a vote in the state Senate in late August on a bill to extend Medicaid health coverage to thousands of un-insured working poor people.

That’s despite Governor Rick Snyder’s call for a vote earlier than that.

The governor has said waiting until late August could jeopardize the state’s ability to get federal approval, and then sign up people in time for coverage to begin when the new federal healthcare law takes effect in January.

The state House has already passed its version of a Medicaid bill.

State Senator Randy Richardville
Photo courtesy of www.senate.michigan.gov

A group of lawmakers working on Michigan’s Medicaid expansion are meeting today to discuss their progress.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said today he expects a Medicaid substitute bill could be ready by next week.

Richardville put together the group earlier this month. The workgroup wants to place certain conditions on Medicaid expansion in Michigan -- reforms that may need federal approval.

MPRN will report on the group’s findings.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Gov. Snyder / Facebook

The debate over expanding Medicaid in Michigan continues.

Governor Snyder is still pushing for the state Senate to vote on the legislation. It would expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults in Michigan. The state House has already approved it.

Over the weekend, Mark Schauer waded into the debate. Schauer, a Democrat, is running for Governor in 2014.

He said on Saturday that he does not understand why Governor Snyder is not calling the Legislature into a special session.

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio’s “It’s Just Politics” team, joined us today to answer Mark Schauer’s question.

Listen to the full interview above.

Democrats in the state House have introduced a package of bills that would add more state regulations to the process of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking.’ We spoke to a co-sponsor of the legislation on today's show.

And, as the use of meth makes headlines across the state, we talked to one woman about her recovery and what she's doing for other addicts.

And, it’s going to be a hot week for Michiganders. We took a look at what health concerns are related to the increased temperatures.

Also, we spoke with Gary Whelan of the State Department of Natural Resources about what is being done to keep the Great Lakes stocked with fish.

First on the show, the debate over expanding Medicaid in Michigan continues.

Governor Snyder is still pushing for the state Senate to vote on the legislation. It would expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults in the state. The state House has already approved it.

Over the weekend, Mark Schauer waded into the debate.

Schauer – a Democrat – is running for Governor in 2014. He said on Saturday that he does not understand why Governor Snyder is not calling the Legislature into a special session.

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio’s “It’s Just Politics” team, joined us today to answer Mark Shauer’s question.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A Democratic candidate for governor says Rick Snyder is not being tough enough with the Legislature.

At a fundraiser in Ypsilanti yesterday [Saturday], Mark Schauer said Governor Snyder needs to push the Legislature to pass Medicaid expansion.

The election for Michigan governor is nearly a year-and-a-half away, but Democrat Mark Schauer is campaigning and criticizing Governor Snyder.

He says he’d do more to get the state Senate to vote on Medicaid expansion.

"This is about caring about one another, eh."

Well, he probably didn't turn on his Upper Peninsula dialect, but he certainly carried his message of support for Medicaid expansion in Michigan to the Yoopers.

Ever since he cut his trade mission to Israel short last month, Gov. Snyder has been pushing the state Senate to pass a bill that would allow the state to offer Medicaid to almost a half a million Michigan citizens.

A map showing the status of Medicaid expansion in the U.S. Twenty-four states are moving forward with expansion. Twenty-one are not moving forward, and six are "debating."
Kaiser Family Foundation

Another Republican is calling on the state Senate to pass Medicaid expansion in Michigan.

The expansion would provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Michigangers and would be paid for by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act in the first two years (federal funds would cover 95% to 90% of the cost in subsequent years).

The Medicaid expansion plan has the backing of Gov. Snyder and some traditional Republican stalwarts, such as the Small Business Association of Michigan and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

Update 3:17 p.m.

The Michigan Senate met today in a chamber stripped of desks and carpet. The state Capitol is being refurbished during the Legislature’s summer recess.

Despite the construction, Senate Republican leaders decided to hold a brief session today which included a meeting to discuss Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

In the end, the Senate adjourned for two weeks without voting on expanding Medicaid coverage to almost half a million uninsured people in Michigan.

Matthileo / Flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss Governor Snyder and Randy Richardville's final efforts to expand Medicaid, a bill recently signed to dissolve financially struggling school districts in Michigan, and another ballot initiative to ban wolf hunting.

Governor Rick Snyder has launched a common-sense offensive aimed at getting the state senate to pass a Medicaid expansion bill that would give health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Michigan citizens who aren’t now covered.

His strategy is to get people to put pressure on their vacationing state senators to return to Lansing and vote. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder is trying to ratchet up the pressure on state lawmakers to expand Medicaid coverage.

Shyder stumped for the “Healthy Michigan” initiative at two southeast Michigan hospitals Monday. At Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, the governor heard stories about the high cost of treating the uninsured.

Snyder called those stories evidence of a “dumb, broken” health care system, and says expanding Medicaid coverage would help alleviate the problem.

Gov. Snyder / Facebook

Governor Rick Snyder is continuing his travels around the state today in southeast Michigan to push for an expansion of Medicaid. Gov. Snyder wants to expand the program – using federal funds – to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults.

Snyder has criticized fellow Republicans in the Senate for leaving Lansing for their summer recess without voting on the measure. The state House had already approved the legislation.

Governor Snyder joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan is leading the nation in small business loans. It seems like good news on the surface, but are there economic consequences for so many new start-ups?

And author Keith Taylor stopped by to give us his picks for summer-time reads. His choices might just surprise you.

Also we began a week-long series of stories here on Stateside where we'll hear from immigrants about what America means to them. Today's story came from a young woman who lives at the Salvation Army's Teen Parent Center in Grand Rapids. 

And, we found out how one couple is trying to bring goodness to communities by baking pies.

Also, we welcomed Interlochen Public Radio listeners to Stateside! Listeners from Traverse City to Manistee; Harbor Springs to Ludington, joining in on the conversations and issues that matter to all of us as Michiganders. Together, we'll explore breaking news and better understand policy issues, and we'll discover stories and meet people from every corner of our state.

First on the show, Governor Snyder continues his travels around the state today in southeast Michigan to push for an expansion of Medicaid. Governor Snyder wants to expand the program – using federal funds – to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults.

Snyder has criticized fellow Republicans in the Senate for leaving Lansing for their summer recess without voting on the measure. The state House had already approved the legislation.

Governor Snyder joined us today to discuss the issue.

State Senator Randy Richardville
Photo courtesy of www.senate.michigan.gov

A state Senate panel is expected to start discussing a bill next week to expand Medicaid in Michigan.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) expects a vote in the full Senate before September.

The Majority Leader has been taking some heat from Governor Rick Snyder since last week.

That’s when Richardville allowed the Senate to leave on its summer recess before taking a vote on Medicaid expansion. But Richardville defended the decision today on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

“I don’t think this legislation is complete. I don’t think we had the votes to get things done that day, and it would have been forcing a less-than-adequate package to his desk,” said Richardville.

The governor says the state stands to lose millions of federal dollars if the legislation isn’t approved soon.

That’s because the plan needs to be approved by Washington – a process that will likely take months. But Richardville said he doesn’t want to rush the legislation if it’s not ready.

"I understand that he has to talk to the federal government, and these waivers are going to be difficult to negotiate," said Richardville. "But I think we’ll have a product for him to look at before July is over."

Richardville says he generally supports the idea of overhauling and expanding Medicaid.

“But we have some other reforms, some other things that we think should be done to make this legislation better. And we need a little time to look at it,” he said.

Meanwhile, a legislative workgroup is also trying to get the bill ready for a vote. The workgroup originally consisted of six Republican senators.

But Richardville now says he plans to add some Democrats to the group as well.

Richardville says he expects to have a proposal in place before August, and a vote of the full Senate before September.

The state of Medicaid expansion in the U.S. (last updated May 2, 2013)
Avalere Health, LLC

Governor Rick Snyder has he doesn’t expect a vote next week to expand Medicaid in Michigan.

The governor is traveling the state trying to pressure lawmakers to act on the bill.

Governor Snyder wanted the state Senate to approve the Medicaid expansion last week before it adjourned for the summer. Then he said he wanted a vote on July 3 – the next day the Senate could meet.

Now he says a vote absolutely has to happen before fall.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Potential impact of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage yesterday won't have any immediate effects in Michigan, but they could impact the state in other ways.

"A federal judge says he’ll rule soon on a case dealing with same-sex adoptions in Michigan. But the decision could extend beyond adoption rights and address the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage...Gay rights activists in Michigan are also gearing up for a 2016 ballot campaign to overturn the state’s ban," Jake Neher reports.

Republican senators form Medicaid workgroup

"Six Republican senators will meet over the summer to consider ways to possibly improve Medicaid expansion legislation pending in the Michigan Senate. Governor Rick Snyder is traveling the state to pressure Senate Republicans to vote after they adjourned last week without voting...Snyder calls the workgroup's creation 'good progress,'" according to the Associated Press.

Wayne State University students face steep tuition hike

A budget passed yesterday by the Wayne State Board of Governors raises the tuition for a fulltime resident undergraduate at the university by $904 for the 2013-2014 school year. Wayne State Board of Governors Chairwoman Debbie Dingell says the state's failure to adequately fund universities made the increase necessary. The school says it will also increase financial aid by 11%.

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.
senate.michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Six Republican senators will meet over the summer to consider ways to possibly improve Medicaid expansion legislation pending in the Michigan Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville on Wednesday announced a workgroup to study options on proceeding with legislation that passed the Republican-led House two weeks ago.

Gov. Rick Snyder is traveling the state to pressure Senate Republicans to vote after they adjourned last week without voting. The bill would make more low-income adults eligible for Medicaid under the federal health care law and force recipients to pay some costs.

Richardville says the Medicaid debate isn't over. The Healthy Michigan Workgroup includes Roger Kahn of Saginaw Township, Bruce Caswell of Hillsdale, Dave Robertson of Grand Blanc, John Pappageorge of Troy, Jim Marleau of Lake Orion and Darwin Booher of Evart.

Matthileo / Flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the state Senate's failure to expand Medicaid before summer recess, how states will be affected by the Voting Rights Act, and legislation in Lansing to re-consider the state's outlaw on same-sex marriage.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Michigan Democrats propose legislation to legalize same-sex marriage

While they wait for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage this week, Michigan House Democrats are proposing legislation that would let voters reconsider the ban on same-sex marriage in the state.

“Legislation would let voters replace the gay marriage ban with an amendment that specifically allows same-sex marriages…The Republican state House speaker says any effort to reverse the same-sex marriage ban should start with a citizen-initiated petition drive,” Rick Pluta reports.

Governor Snyder still pushing Senate on Medicaid expansion

“Governor Rick Snyder says he’s considering vetoing every bill that hits his desk until state lawmakers vote to expand Medicaid in Michigan…Snyder blasted the state Senate last week for leaving on summer recess without voting on the bill. He says he’s looking at a variety of options to get lawmakers back in Lansing,” Jack Neher reports.

Bay Mills casino case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide if the state can challenge a tribe’s right to open a casino in the northern Michigan town of Vanderbilt.

“The case now goes on the docket for the Supreme Court’s upcoming term. The issue is whether state Attorney General Bill Schuette has the legal standing to challenge the casino. The Bay Mills Indian tribe says he does not – that the Vanderbilt property is part of the tribe’s independent territory," according to Rick Pluta.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says a Democrat's call for him to convene an emergency legislative session to pressure the Senate to pass Medicaid expansion is moot for now.

The Republican governor says the Legislature has a session day scheduled on July 3rd.

Spokesman Ken Silfven said Friday that the Senate should "take care of business" on July 3rd. While the Senate technically will be in session that day and others, attendance won't be taken and no business will be voted on until August 27th.

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