medicaid expansion

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service. On tap today, the latest happenings around the Medicaid expansion bill; developments in Detroit about whether the selection of the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, was in conflict with the Opening Meetings Act; and possible bankruptcy proceedings in the city. 
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

For a lot of uninsured families in Michigan, this is a big week.

Lawmakers in Lansing are sloooowly moving ahead with expanding the state’s Medicaid program.

That would give another 470,000 Michiganders coverage.

So who exactly are we talking about here?

The morning I meet Jen and Todd Nagle, we have no clue the day will end with Todd being rushed to the doctor for chest pains.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
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.

Several months ago, the federal government offered the states, including Michigan, a deal that sounded almost too good to be true. Washington offered to expand Medicaid coverage to citizens earning up to a third more than the official poverty level.

We aren’t talking rich people. Currently, poverty is officially defined as an annual income of $23,550 for a family of four. Those making that amount or less are eligible for Medicaid. But with the requirement that people buy health insurance about to kick in, Washington offered to increase eligibility to a family making as much as $31,300 a year. This is a figure that changes with inflation, and which varies based on family size.

What would that mean for Michigan? Well, within a few years, nearly half a million people who now have no health care would be covered. Initially the state would pay nothing.

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Medicaid goes to House floor

Yesterday, the Michigan House Competitiveness Committee voted to send the Medicaid expansion bill to the floor. Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports that while Republicans were split on the issue, “Democrats on the panel all voted in favor of the bill. That’s after lawmakers dropped a controversial plan to limit able-bodied adults to four years on Medicaid. But they say they’re still concerned about language that would raise premiums and co-pays for some patients after four years.”

Questions for Governor about Detroit's emergency manager

Concerns have been raised about Governor Rick Snyder’s process in selecting Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s emergency manager. Rick Pluta reports that “a judge says Governor Rick Snyder’s office must turn over e-mails and other records related to the candidate search for a Detroit emergency manager. The judge’s order is related to a lawsuit that alleges Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr was hired illegally. The lawsuit claims the process was rigged and carried out in violation of Michigan’s open meetings law.”

Heroin incidents on the rise in Michigan

A rash of heroin overdoses occurred in Washtenaw County last week, and incidents are on the rise across parts of the state. “Authorities say a particularly toxic heroin mix known by some on the street as ‘black shadow’ appears to be circulating in southeast Michigan communities, causing a rise in overdoses and at least one death this month,” report Robin Erb and Tammy Stables Battaglia of the Detroit Free Press.

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This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Kyle Norris discuss Medicaid expansion in Michigan, immigration reform and how it could affect struggling Michigan cities, and the race for Senator Carl Levin’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

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Farm Bill moves to U.S. House

The Michigan Farm Bureau is glad to see Congress is making progress on passing Senator Debbie Stabenow's farm bill. The U.S. Senate approved nearly a trillion dollars in support for food assistance, crop insurance and other programs this week.  Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports, "the U.S. House is still wrestling with its version of the bill."

Tea Party activists will sit out of governor's race

An open letter to Governor Rick Snyder released by a group of prominent Tea Party activists calls on their party to sit out next year's race for governor. They call for Snyder to change his position on Medicaid expansion. Tea Party group "Grassroots in Michigan" says Snyder is bucking the Republican platform by cooperating with the new federal healthcare law.

Duggan is out of the Detroit Mayoral race

A Wayne County judge has kicked Mike Duggan off of the ballot for Detroit Mayor. When Duggan filed for a mayoral run a month before the deadline, he didn't meet a city rule that requires candidates to be registered voters in Detroit a full year before filing.  But he did meet the rule by the filing deadline date.  Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, "Duggan says he's reviewing his legal options."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan's largest nurses union is in Lansing today lobbying for Medicaid expansion.

The issue has been locked in a political debate at the state capitol for months.

John Karebian is the executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association.    He says Medicaid expansion is being “held hostage” by Republicans still angry over the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More than 30 conservative and tea party activists say they won't support Gov. Rick Snyder's re-election because of his support for expanding Medicaid eligibility to more Michigan adults under the federal health care law.

In an open letter to the Republican governor Tuesday, the advocates faulted him for consulting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Medicaid expansion.

They accuse Snyder of purposefully sticking a "finger in the eye of his own conservative base." The activists - including some of Michigan's better-known tea party advocates - say a "line must be drawn."

Snyder and Republican legislative leaders sent a letter to Sebelius May 29 asking her to meet with them in Michigan. The House is considering legislation that would expand Medicaid but require a federal waiver.

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.