Michigan GOP Governor Wants Expansion of Medicaid
Republican Governor Rick Snyder said he supports the extension of Medicaid coverage to 470,000 residents under the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. He said that it was the right thing to do despite the opposition from his own party that controls the Legislature.
Snyder is the sixth GOP governor to propose expanding the taxpayer-funded health insurance program. He joins the governors from Ohio, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and North Dakota. The Michigan governor has criticized the federal health care law in the past but not as much as the other Republican governors.
The US Supreme Court allowed Medicaid expansion last year when it upheld the constitutionality of the federal health care law. According to the law, states can increase the eligibility under their Medicaid programs to people whose incomes equal 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Snyder told supporters at the Lansing hospital that extending Medicaid to nearly half of the state’s uninsured is a win-win situation. When he was asked about the Republicans’ opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, he said that he looked at the numbers and came to the conclusion that bolstering the number of Medicaid participants would save money and make his constituents healthier.
Snyder said that the chance to cover half of Michigan’s uninsured is a huge endeavor. He added that he is comfortable that the president’s health care system can handle the extra load. The federal health care law allows states the option to expand the coverage, refuse it, or postpone a decision. States who choose to expand Medicaid now will be given benefits. The US government will pay the entire cost in the first three years and 90 percent over the long haul.
Governor Snyder said he expects to get opposition from Republican lawmakers who oppose the health law. Representative Joe Haveman of Holland, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said that the proposal needs to be scrutinized and Republicans have questions about it.