By Nourhan Dakroury
Lansing Township News staff writer
Medicaid supporters are waiting for the legislature to approve Governor Rick Snyder’s Medicaid expansion proposal.
“The (Medicaid) expansion is a critical step for health care in Michigan,” said Judy Putnam, communication director of Michigan League for Public Policy.
Not only will this expansion provide an additional 400,000 to 600,000 Michigan residents with affordable health care.
This means that the number of uninsured in Michigan is going to be cut to half through the expansion, according to Putnam.
The expansion would cover people with a family income at or below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which is around $30,000 for a family of four.
The expansion would also save the state $211.1 million in the first year and $1.1 billion over a 10-year period, according to a fiscal agency study published by the Michigan House of Representatives.
A study by the University of Michigan Health System showed that 81 percent of primary care physicians in Michigan would accept new Medicaid patients.
Mid Michigan Physicians, 1540 Lake Lansing Road, does not accept Medicaid patients, except those who have already been patients there and had to go on Medicaid.
They may be compelled to start accepting Medicaid patients, since the federal government will be reimbursing them more, said Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare.
The organization’s mission is to ensure the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and to make sure that the opinion and needs of the needy and uninsured are met by appropriate healthcare reform.
Michigan Consumers for Healthcare also works closely with the Michigan League for Public Policy.
The expansion of Medicaid will limit costly visits to the emergency room, since it would focus more on preventive medicine, which costs much less, according to Robert McCann, communication director of Senate Democrats of Ingham County.
After getting the Medicaid expansion proposal approved, it’s important to start working on a state healthcare exchange.
“An exchange in each state will allow (people) to shop for health care,” said McCann.
Supporting the development of the state exchange is also Michigan Consumers for Healthcare.
“(It’s) essentially a market place, where people go online to enter their financial data to determine whether they’re eligible for Medicaid,” said Hazaert.
One of the health insurance options on the exchange is insurance through tax credits.
If the state refuses to go through with the exchange development, the federal government will take over the project, leading to Michigan losing a grant of $30 million and jobs, according to Hazaert.