Michigan medicaid expansion could add hundreds of thousands to program

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July 31, 2013

By Brittany Clingen


LANSING, Michigan: On Wednesday, July 31, a Senate panel approved a Medicaid expansion bill that has the potential to add hundreds of thousands of adults to the government program if it eventually gains approval. A month prior, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) urged the Republican-controlled body not to vote on the bill. However, the special committee approved a revised version of the original bill, along with two alternate versions. The full chamber is set to vote on the bill in August; the outcome is anyone's guess.[1]

In Muskegon County - a county of approximately 170,000 people that borders Lake Michigan - upwards of 9,000 people could be added to Medicaid if the expansion is approved. The Michigan Association of Counties supports the expansion. The county's Director of Legislative Affairs, Ben Bodkin believes expanding Medicaid will bolster people and communities, explaining that the program's expansion will lead to fewer people ending up in county prisons or mental health programs. However, not everyone agrees with Bodkin's appraisal of the situation. Jeff Fortenbacher is the president of Access Health, "a community based not-for-profit organization developed to provide affordable, basic health coverage." He's not convinced that adding more people to Medicaid is the answer, saying, "Honestly, I think it depends on how they do it. To put people into a system that's broken already doesn't make sense to me either."[2][3][4]

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