The Michigan Senate Democrats have been calling for an expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act since 2012.

Expanding Medicaid in Michigan would extend health care coverage to Michigan residents who are under 133% of the federal poverty level. In total, 320,000 Michiganders would be covered in the first year of the expansion, and an estimated 470,000 would be covered by 2021. Michigan’s uninsured population will drop by approximately 46% if the expansion is enacted.

House Bill 4714 to expand Medicaid in Michigan was introduced in May, and was passed with bipartisan support in the Michigan House of Representatives on June 13, 2013. Governor Snyder, along with medical and business professionals, has championed the legislation. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have opted to take a two month summer break rather than bringing the legislation up for a vote. Senate Democrats will be in session and ready to vote on the expansion on July 3rd, and are encouraging the people of Michigan to join us in showing support for the legislation.

Medicaid expansion also includes a 48-month cap on benefits offered through this legislation. Because this differs from what is allowed under federal law, the state must seek a waiver from the federal government before the expansion can be implemented in January of 2014. In order to ensure this waiver is received in time, Michigan must submit its application as soon as possible. The longer it takes this bill to pass the Senate, the less likely it becomes that a waiver will be granted in time.

Failure to pass this bill will result in Michigan losing out on an additional $2 billion in federal Medicaid funding. It also means the state will continue to spend more than $200 million annually on emergency room visits and other health care costs for those that we failed to cover.