Michigan's Republican governor says he supports expanding Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of residents without insurance under the Obama administration's health care overhaul.
Rick Snyder made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at a Lansing hospital, a day before he proposes his next state budget.
“This makes sense for the physical and fiscal health of Michigan,” said Snyder. “Expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save precious tax dollars. It also puts Michigan rather than Washington in the driver’s seat in terms of implementation, which allows us to better address Michigan’s specific needs.”
Snyder said expanding Medicaid to cover up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit means that routine and preventative health care will be provided to about 320,000 Michiganders in the first year. More than 470,000 will be covered by 2021, reducing the amount of Michigan’s uninsured by about 46 percent.
The federal health care law gives states the option to accept the expansion, refuse it or postpone a decision.
But there are benefits for states that choose to expand Medicaid. The federal government will pick up the entire cost in the first three years and 90 percent over the long haul.
Snyder said more than $20 billion will flow into Michigan through 2023 by leveraging the federal funds made available through the Affordable Care Act. In addition, the state’s general fund will see $1.2 billion in savings through 2020.
“While this is a federal program that we would not have necessarily created for Michigan, it is critical that the state control its implementation,” Snyder said. “Failure to go through with the expansion means that Michigan tax dollars will go to cover health care costs for other states that do take part. We can ensure the program remains financially stable and guard against changes in the federal commitment.”
Snyder is likely to run into resistance from Republican lawmakers opposed to the health law. They believe federal officials could renege.
Hospitals, doctors and others in favor of Medicaid expansion joined Snyder at his announcement.