Michigan's Republican-controlled legislature appears to be on the verge of passing a Medicaid expansion program to provide healthcare coverage to nearly a half million low-income state residents after rejecting the measure earlier this year.
The bill, backed by GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, squeezed by the state Senate on Tuesday and is expected to pass the state House. Once it's signed into law by Snyder, Michigan would become the 9th GOP-controlled state to accept Medicaid expansion funds under Obamacare and the 24th state overall to approve the program, according to The Huffington Post.
"It's about helping 470,000 Michiganders have a better life," Snyder said during a press conference following the vote Tuesday night. "We all know someone that falls in that category: hardworking people but lower-income people that couldn't afford health insurance.
"This isn't about the Affordable Care Act," added Snyder, who is generally opposed to Obamacare. But he said "this is one element" of the law that Michigan can control and that "can make a difference in people's lives."
Snyder had argued in support of the expansion by noting its budgetary benefits to the state. The expansion was also backed by the state's health care industry business groups, along with consumer advocates and labor unions, The Huffington Post reported.
The Michigan Senate had rejected another expansion bill in June, which the state House approved. This time, under pressure from Snyder and a heavy lobbying effort, it managed to get the 20 votes it needed for passage.
The bill now goes back to the House, where it is expected to pass easily based on the vote earlier this year.
Under the expansion program, the federal government will pay 100 percent of covering new Medicaid enrollees from 2014 through 2016. After that, the federal share of coverage costs will decline to 90 percent by 2022, forcing the states to pick up more of the costs.
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