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Medicaid Expansion Dollars Expected in Gov. Snyder's Budget

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PHOTO: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder By the Office of the Governor.
PHOTO: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder By the Office of the Governor.
 By Rob SouthContact
February 6, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to announce whether he intends to expand Medicaid when he delivers his budget priorities to state lawmakers Thursday.

Health-care advocates are hoping Snyder will allocate the funds to cover about a half-million uninsured Michiganders. Doug Paterson, director of state policy for the Michigan Primary Care Association, which represents 35 community health clinics, said Medicaid expansion would vastly improve health coverage in the state.

"Thirty-three percent of the people we serve have no insurance," Paterson said. "So, you can imagine that if many of these people become Medicaid eligible and we had new source of revenue to cover a lot of those people, we could expand the amount of services that could be given to the population."

The expansion would mostly cover very low-income people, those earning less than $15,000 a year. Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, said the expansion would close a huge gap in medical coverage.

"You're picking up a lot of folks who currently have no health-care coverage, aren't eligible for health-care coverage because they don't have children," he said. "All of those folks are going to get picked up by this expansion of Medicaid. So, we're looking at half a million adults that are going to have coverage in 2014, who currently don't have medical coverage at all."

The federal government would reimburse the state the estimated $2 billion cost of Medicaid expansion. The expansion is mandated under the Affordable Care Act, but its critics call it an expansion of a "welfare state," and say the lack of enforcement provisions mean Michigan could find a way to avoid the requirement.

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