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A federal government shutdown could have a big effect in Michigan, especially for many of the state’s most vulnerable.

Many programs run by Michigan’s state government are paid for with money from the federal government.

If the White House and Congressional Republicans can’t reach a budget deal by the end of this month, the flow of federal money to Michigan will slow to a trickle.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars that flow into the state on a monthly basis,” says John Nixon, Michigan’s state budget director.

It's officially the law of the land.

Governor Rick Snyder signed the Medicaid expansion into law today.

The expansion will provide Medicaid services to hundreds of thousands of working-poor in the state through the federal Affordable Care Act. On today's show, what the expansion means for Michigan and what's next on the Governor's and the Legislature's agenda.

And, Brandon and Bethany Foote, the couple behind the musical group Gifts or Creatures, joined us today to talk about their music.

Also, Rivertown, a $55 million proposed development along the east riverfront in Detroit, recently won approval from the Detroit Economic Development Corporation. How are developments like this possible when Detroit is bankrupt?

First on the show, in Michigan, by state law, the day after Labor Day is Back-To-School Day.

But in some 30 districts and charter schools in Michigan, kids have already been going to school because these districts and schools are experimenting with year-round school.

It's a concept getting much attention with the realization that our traditional school schedule causes most kids to forget some of the reading and math skills over the long summer break. That forces teachers to spend the first month or more re-teaching the previous year's material.

What does year-round school look like and is there a demand for it?

For the answer, we turned to the Crosswell-Lexington Community Schools in rural Sanilac County, which is offering the option of a year-round schedule.

Superintendent Kevin Miller joined us today.

Gov. Snyder / Facebook

After months of political wrangling and debate, Governor Snyder has signed the Medicaid expansion into law. The expansion will provide Medicaid services to hundreds of thousands of working-poor in Michigan through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Chris Gautz, Capitol Correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, and Chad Livengood, Lansing reporter for the Detroit News joined us today to talk about what we can now expect. 

Listen to the full interview above.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Governor to sign Medicaid expansion today

"Governor Rick Snyder today will sign into law a plan to expand Medicaid in Michigan. The measure will extend government-sponsored health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income Michiganders through the federal Affordable Care Act," Jake Neher reports.

Anthrax vaccine facility expands in Michigan

The nations only licensed anthrax vaccine is made in Lansing. Now the company that makes the vaccine will open a new Michigan facility to expand production of the anthrax vaccine. More on the story can be found here.

Plan for more lighting in Detroit moves forward

"Plans are moving forward on a new effort to keep streetlights working in Detroit. The Public Lighting Authority of Detroit says it will begin a block-by-block review of streetlights in two Detroit neighborhoods this week as part of two pilot projects. According to some estimates, fewer than half of Detroit's 88,000 streetlights are believed to work," the Associated Press reports.

chrt.org

We've been flooded with news coverage of the Medicaid expansion in Michigan, the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"), and the soon-to-be unveiled health care exchanges.

But it's all confusing and challenging, even to those who work in the field of healthcare coverage.

We wanted to see if we could get a firmer grasp on what all of this means in real world terms. Who's in, who's not? What does it mean for you, the consumer?

Marianne Udow-Phillips is the director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation. It's a non-profit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. She joined us today from Ann Arbor.

Listen to the full interview above.

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Medicaid expansion and Kerry Bentivolio's primary challenger.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Governor Snyder says some Medicaid funding could go toward roads

"Governor Rick Snyder says extending Medicaid to thousands of working poor people will save Michigan taxpayers money. He wants to use part of the money to pay for the program in future years when the federal government’s share declines slightly. But he says there should be more than enough to also use some of the money for other things – such as roads and transportation," Rick Pluta reports.

Housing project once home to Diana Ross and Joe Louis torn down in Detroit

"Portions of Detroit’s historic Brewster-Douglass housing projects met the wrecking ball Wednesday. The massive complex where Diana Ross and Joe Louis grew up had become a magnet for blight and crime," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Rockfors residents urged to boil water to avoid E. coli

"Tests have revealed E. coli in the water system that serves Rockford, a city north of Grand Rapids. Health officials advised residents to use bottled water Wednesday or boil tap water before using it for drinking, brushing teeth or preparing food," the Associated Press reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says extending Medicaid to more working poor people will save the state a lot of money – maybe $130 million next year. That begs the question of what to do with the budget windfall.

   The Snyder administration says the Medicaid expansion to 320,000 working poor people will help reduce uncompensated hospital care and other things that drive up the cost of health care. But the state should also see direct savings by shifting costs like prisoner mental health services to the Medicaid program.

cncphotos / flickr

It's Wednesday, the morning we speak with Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry about what's going on in state politics.

This week Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the approval of a Medicaid expansion in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder's trade mission to Asia, and Duggan becoming the official front runner of the Detroit mayoral race.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Medicaid expansion awaits Governor Snyder's signature

The state House took final action yesterday to approve a Medicaid expansion in Michigan. It now awaits Governor Rick Snyder's signature. However, the bill does not have immediate effect, meaning it won’t start until the spring, instead of in January. The delay will cost the state $7 million a day in federal funds.

Duggan is the official winner of Detroit mayoral primary

"The board of state canvassers has declared Mike Duggan the winner of Detroit’s mayoral primary. The state took over the issue after Wayne County elections officials threw out thousands of write-in votes based on how they had been tabulated. Duggan was a write-in candidate. The state restored more than 24-thousand votes to Duggan, giving him a big margin of victory over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Detroit EM says casino money is key for Detroit

"Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager testified that access to casino tax revenues is key to the city staying afloat financially. During the deposition, Kevyn Orr said he has 'no plans to use art to relieve the liquidity crisis that the city is in now,'" the Associated Press reports.

During the debate on Medicaid expansion, one of the program’s biggest foes said something worth consideration.

State Senator Patrick Colbeck of Canton is a Tea Party favorite who is about as firmly anti-government as anybody. Especially, that is, when it comes to the federal government.

Colbeck firmly opposes any tax increases for any reason, including fixing our roads. He not only wanted to stop extending Medicaid, he wanted to get the state out of that federal program altogether.

He proposed a state-financed version that would cost the state more and insure fewer people. Even most of his fellow Republicans voted against that.

But one of Colbeck’s objections is worth thinking about. Of Medicaid expansion, he said, “If this goes into effect, 30 percent of our population is going to be on Medicaid, and then 70 percent is going to be paying for 30 percent.“ 

Indeed, that is a version of the nightmare that has haunted conservatives for decades: That our nation is becoming a place where a shrinking group of hard-working, self-sufficient Americans are cruelly taxed to support a huge parasite class. 

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Medicaid is first order of business in Lansing

"The Michigan Legislature is back in session today to deal with the final details of a bill to extend Medicaid health coverage to thousands of working poor people. Governor Rick Snyder hopes to have the measure ready for his signature by the end of the day," Rick Pluta reports.

Schools must offer opportunity for students to recite Pledge of Allegiance

"Some students could have their first experience reciting the Pledge of Allegiance today. A new state law requires schools to offer students "the opportunity" to recite the pledge each day," Tracy Samilton reports.

Grand Rapids Public Schools phases in school uniforms

"All 10,000 students in Grand Rapids Public Schools will wear uniforms within three years. It starts this year with students in kindergarten through eighth grade," Rina Miller reports.


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 MLIVE.com 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.

Senate panel will take Medicaid vote Wednesday

Jul 30, 2013
Dohn Hoyle, the director of public policy of The Arc: "There's not been anything that we've seen ... that leads us to believe that the governor's original [mental health funding] plan makes any sense."
Matthileo/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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 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.

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.

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