Michigan Legislature Debates Medicaid Expansion

Published August 1, 2009

The Michigan legislature is considering a bill proponents say would extend health coverage to 600,000 currently uninsured state residents. The measure would expand Medicaid to residents whose incomes are between 200 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level, while increasing the taxpayer-funded subsidy for those below 200 percent of poverty.

Senate Bill 580 would prevent insurers from raising rates on policyholders who develop illnesses and from cancelling the policies of those who develop chronic conditions. It also would create a state fund to assist people with medical bills between $25,000 and $250,000.

Analysts Critical

“Michigan is proposing to expand entitlement, government health care, and dependency,” said Twila Brase, president of the Citizens’ Council on Health Care. “This proposal does nothing to actually get to the heart of the uninsurance problem; it only worsens it.”

Brase explained, “High costs and consequently rising uninsurance rates are the result of massive entitlement programs, third-party involvement in every health care expense, and a lack of cost-consciousness due to third-party payment. Michigan proposes to exacerbate the problem by expanding government health care entitlements. The end result of ever-expanding entitlement is everyone ending up under government-controlled health care, which promises coverage but rations care.”

“The ongoing public policy follies Michigan policymakers continue to make are astounding,” said Paul J. Guessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation. “Expanding Medicaid to put even more Michiganders on the government dole will only hasten the departure of the [remaining] hardworking taxpayers still residing in Michigan.”

Krystle Russin ([email protected]) writes from Texas.

For more information …

Michigan Senate Bill 580: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2009-2010/billintroduced/Senate/pdf/2009-SIB-0580.pdf