The Michigan State Capitol.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate's months-long debate over Medicaid expansion isn't over, even after the vote to provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents.

Republican senators on Tuesday will reconsider the issue of when the legislation should take effect. While the Senate passed the bill 20-18 in dramatic fashion this past week, it fell two votes short of giving it immediate effect.

Ifmuth / Flickr

It's our weekly review of Michigan politics with Susan Demas, columnist for and Ken Sikkema, former senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

We start with Medicaid, and while the expansion finally passed in the Senate the vote didn’t happen without a bit of drama and struggle.

"There was still an awful lot of controversy. There was some horse-trading involved with an issue Senator Tom Casperson, who represents the Upper Peninsula wanted, and that finally changed his vote. And, it was just a typical messy process which is what happens in the legislature," said Demas.

However, this isn’t the end of the story. The law passed without immediate effect. As it stands now, the law won’t go into effect until April. The Snyder administration says this will cost the state about $630 million in lost federal funds. Demas said there are still a lot of hurdles before Medicaid expansion goes into effect

Let's turn now to Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.  Tea Party activist, Wes Nakagiri says he plans to challenge the renomination of Calley at the Republican convention next summer. Nakagiri says Governor Snyder needs a more conservative lieutenant governor to help the administration stay the conservative course.  

"If this Tea Party challenge to Brian Calley is successful at the convention, it gives the Democrats a huge issue during the fall general election campaign. They will use the argument that the Lieutenant Governor is far too conservative or radical for the Michigan electorate," Sikkema said.

Click on the link above to hear the full interview.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s now up to the state House to decide whether to send a bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

That’s after the state Senate narrowly approved the bill yesterday.  

But the Senate may have also delayed when the expansion could actually take effect.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan could get a vote in the state Senate as early as tomorrow.   So could two other alternative plans to extend health insurance to low-income Michiganders.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says whichever route he and his colleagues decide to take, they have to address the issue this week.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This promises to be an important week for the State Senate. This could be the week the Senate decides whether or not to expand Medicaid to more low-income adults in Michigan.

You may recall, the Senate broke off for its summer break in June without taking a vote on Medicaid, something that so incensed Governor Snyder that he came home early from a trade trip to Israel in order to publicly scold the Senate.

So, two months later, it appears a vote is at hand.

Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

A state Senate panel is expected to vote tomorrow on legislation to expand Medicaid in Michigan. It would extend Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of residents under the Affordable Care Act.
State Senate Republicans refused to vote on the Medicaid expansion bill last month before their summer recess. Since then, a legislative work group has made relatively small changes to the proposal.

But Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he thinks the changes will be enough to win over some of his GOP colleagues.

“I think that there will be a lot more support. It’ll be broader support than the one that was put in front of us, when I don’t believe the votes were there.”

The panel will also consider two alternative proposals, which would not expand Medicaid under the federal health care law.

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.

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.

Marianne Udow-Phillips is Director of the University of Michigan's Center for Healthcare Research.
user mudowp / Twitter

A new survey by the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT) finds Medicaid recipients are the happiest with their health insurance. 

65% of people with Medicaid insurance rated it as very good or excellent - compared to  54% with Medicare insurance. 

51% of people with employer-based insurance rated it as very good or excellent. 

The lowest number was among the individually-insured group - those are people who buy their own insurance.  Only 43% said it was very good or excellent.

"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.

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.

State Senator Randy Richardville
Photo courtesy of

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.

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.

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.

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.

Matthileo / Flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the state of Medicaid expansion in the Michigan Senate, Governor Snyder's trade mission to Israel, and the political future of Mike Duggan in Detroit.

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.

Thomas Anderson / Flickr

The state House has approved a plan to overhaul and expand Medicaid in Michigan. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support.

State lawmakers have been debating for months whether to add hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to the Medicaid rolls under the federal healthcare law. It also creates incentives for healthy lifestyles, and would eventually require some Medicaid patients to pay more toward the cost of their healthcare.

Democratic state Representative Brandon Dillon praised Republican House leadership for taking a vote on the bill.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder signed a nearly $50 billion state budget today for the coming fiscal year.

It puts a large deposit into the state's "rainy day" savings account, and boosts funding for schools and early childhood programs. The Governor says a $65 million appropriation will cut in half the waiting list for kids from low-income families to get into Great Start.

"A major jump that will give the opportunity for hopefully 16,000 additional kids to be part of Great Start. I hope we're back here next year talking about another $65 million so we can make that whole waiting list go away," said Snyder.

The budget also includes more money for Medicaid dental care for kids.

The governor says there is still some unfinished business with the budget -- namely, a federally funded expansion of the Medicaid program and raising 1.2 billion dollars for roads.

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.

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.

It’s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

The state budget is on its way to Governor Snyder for his signature, while there is an investment of $65 million in early education, the Governor did not get three of his major priorities met. Medicaid expansion, transportation funding, and Common Core for K-12 education.

"He [Snyder] can't afford to sort of roll over all the time on the conservative agenda items, where he signs everything they want without getting them [conservatives] to agree to pass some of his high priority items," says Sikkema. 

Listen to the full interview above.

cncphotos / flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Kyle Norris and Jack Lessenberry talk about Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate, and the financial emergency in the city of Hamtramck.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Budget awaits Governor Snyder's signature

State lawmakers passed a budget that would increase funding to local governments and schools.

"Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville calls it the best budget he’s ever helped pass.  But the budget does not include Snyder’s request to expand Medicaid or increase road funding by more than a billion dollars," Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports.

Senate voting to protect DIA

The Michigan Senate is expected to vote today on a measure to protect the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr has warned the Institute's assets could be at risk if the city goes bankrupt. If this bill passes, the same protections would apply to collections in other museums across Michigan.

Michigan gas prices amongst highest in nation

Gasoline prices in Michigan are the second highest in the United States right now. It could be several weeks before there's any relief at the pump.

"Analyst Patrick deHaan of GasBuddy dot com says there are fewer gasoline refineries in the Midwest than other parts of the country, and gasoline commodity traders are also driving up the prices," Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.