Traverse City Record-Eagle


August 25, 2013

Fred Goldenberg: State Senate doesn't address poverty


If the governor’s plan is adopted, federal funds will cover 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion from 2014 to 2016, 95 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019 and 90 percent in 2020 and subsequent years. If any plan other than that which meets federal guidelines is adopted, the state is giving up millions upon millions of dollars in which to pay for health insurance for 470,000 residents.

Plus, logic dictates that a family of four living at 133 percent of poverty level or less, who has to pay rent, buys food, clothes, gas, medicine, etc. would be hard pressed to pay monthly premiums and/or high deductibles. If they could I suspect they’d be doing it today. But they can’t and under the alternate plans thousands upon thousands of individuals and families will continue to be disenfranchised.

We taxpayers provide every Michigan senator with a base salary of $71,685 per year, making them the fourth-highest paid legislators in the country, with an additional $10,800 per year for living expenses and 54 cent per mile auto reimbursement, plus we taxpayers are saddled with paying 80 percent of their health insurance premium. Their benefits plan has low deductibles and co-pays, plus dental, vision and life insurance.

The members of the Michigan Senate are public employees. They may not want to hear it or even believe it but as public employees, I’d venture to say that we (taxpayers) are overpaying for services received and those obstructing the overhauling of the Michigan and national health care programs need to be removed from feeding at the public trough and sent back to the private sector.

Gov. Snyder has put aside the petty partisan politics and recognized the importance of the Affordable Care Act for Michigan. He saw the need and solution and embraced it. There is a national health insurance crisis and the ACA is the first step. The Senate reconvenes on Tuesday. I’d suggest that you call your senator and tell him/her to get in step with the governor and the House and move Michigan forward.

Fred L. Goldenberg is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and the owner of Senior Benefit Solutions, LLC, a patient and consumer advocacy and financial services organization in Traverse City. Questions or comments about this column or other senior issues can be directed to (231) 922-1010 or

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