Apr 15, 2013
For electoral purposes, Republicans in Michigan’s state legislature are holding hostage the health care of the working poor. They are refusing to pass Republican Governor Snyder’s request to expand Medicaid to those who are below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. By doing so, they are turning down up to two billion dollars in new federal money to pay for that expansion. This hurts almost half a million people in Michigan who could qualify for this potentially life-saving health insurance.
The Medicaid expansion would allow individuals earning less than $16,000 a year to be eligible, in addition to a family of four who make less than $31,500. Imagine blocking aid to individuals or families at this low income scale!
Certainly, aspects of Obamacare WILL cost working people more money in the future, but this is not one of those aspects. Expanding Medicaid will benefit working people.
As well, the 2014 budget proposed by the governor already counted on federal money coming from the Medicaid expansion. Without that money, new initiatives to provide dental care for low income children, mental health and substance abuse services for veterans and a program to prevent infant mortality would not receive funding either.
Republican legislators are playing politics because expanding Medicaid requires them to accept the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called Obamacare. Most of the current crop of Republicans will be up for re-election and are currently not “term-limited.” So for their own selfish political reasons they are NOT wanting to vote for it. In front of their Tea Party voters, they do not want to be seen as supporting anything having to do with Obamacare.