Category: Prime Politics Published on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 14:12 Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
"The Senate Republicans may have shown up today, but they clearly weren't here to actually work," said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. "It's discouraging that Republicans are putting the health and well-being of nearly half a million Michigan residents at risk to play political games, and once again, Governor Snyder was nowhere to be found as this was taking place."
At today's Senate session, Senate Democrats moved to discharge HB 4714 for immediate consideration. The motion was defeated by the Republican majority. Republicans then moved to adjourn for another two week vacation. Senate Democrats objected and spoke against the adjournment while hundreds of Medicaid supporters looked on, but those efforts were also defeated along party lines.
"As an author of the Affordable Care Act, I find the expansion of Medicaid in the state of Michigan to be of fundamental importance," said Congressman John Dingell, who was present at Senate session today in support of the legislation. "I fought for years to pass national health care in Congress, and to see the issue stalled in my home state for political reasons is thoroughly disappointing. There's no reason not to enact legislation that would immediately cover 320,000 Michigan residents who are near the poverty line and save Michigan over a billion dollars. I urge Republican Senators to do the job they were elected to do and get this life-saving legislation passed in the Michigan Senate."
Expanding Medicaid in Michigan would extend health care coverage to Michigan residents who are under 133% of the federal poverty level. In total, 320,000 Michiganders would be covered in the first year of the expansion, and an estimated 470,000 would be covered by 2021. Michigan's uninsured population will drop by approximately 46% if the expansion is enacted. It will also secure billions of dollars in federal funding for Michigan.
"The fact that I have to worry about money before my health is horrible," said Mari Martinez, a 37-year-old from Lansing, who attended session today and is one of the nearly half million uninsured Michigan adults who will benefit from the expansion of Medicaid. "It's a pretty terrible feeling to think that just because I don't have enough money, I can't get the health care I need. I encourage Senate Republicans to think for a moment about the individuals like me statewide whose lives would be changed forever, if they just took the time to vote on this issue."
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