Michigan Senate Panel Moves Three Alternative Medicaid Bills Out of Committee
In early July, we updated our readers regarding the status of the Medicaid expansion debate in Michigan. At that time, a House-passed bill - supported by Governor Snyder - languished in a Senate committee because it was blocked by Senate Republicans who opposed the measure.
After a six-week recess, the Senate's Government Operations Committee (“Senate Committee”) voted to approve the House-passed bill, with modifications, which expands the Medicaid program in Michigan under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Some of the differences from the House bill include more flexibility for the state in determining eligibility for Medicaid; incentives for healthy habits like not smoking and completing an annual risk assessment; and consequences for those who fail to contribute co-pays. The 4-0 Senate Committee vote (two Republicans and two Democrats in favor, one Republican abstention) sets the stage for a full Senate vote later this month.
Unexpectedly, the Senate Committee also approved two alternatives plans. The first, passed 3-2 by Republicans in a party-line vote, would require the state to create private health insurance exchanges and transition Medicaid recipients to health savings accounts with which they would buy coverage. The second, also passed 3-2 by Republicans, would shift responsibility for the cost of providing health care to low-income Michigan residents to the state, rather than the federal government.
Governor Snyder applauded the Senate Committee for bringing the measures to a vote. "This is an opportunity that we can't pass up. Too many Michigan lives depend on it," Snyder said in a statement.
We will continue to keep you updated on developments related to the expansion of Medicaid in Michigan.
Posted by: Johanna M. Novak
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