Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

June 16, 2013

Editorial: Medicaid expansion vote makes sense

It’s not peace in our time. It’s not a return to sanity from the political extremes that have dictated Michigan politics for so long. And it’s not even a done deal.

But the vote by the state House early Friday to approve an expansion of Medicaid for nearly half a million Michigan residents was a compromise in which the good of the state and its citizens trumped ideology and politics. And that’s a good thing.

Now it’s up to the state Senate to make the same common-sense decision to provide medical insurance for the state’s poorest residents. It’s an offer too good to pass up, particularly for a state still struggling to recover from the Great Recession.

Under the expansion, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs of the expansion through 2017, and then the amount would decline to 90 percent by 2020.

The bill requires the additional recipients — those people who fall within 100 percent to 133 percent of the federal poverty level — to contribute 5 percent of their out-of-pocket medical costs. After 48 months, that co-pay would increase to 7 percent, or the recipient could purchase insurance on the health care exchange.

Gov. Rick Snyder had pushed hard for the bill, saying it was fiscally responsible. It’s been estimated that Michigan would receive about $2 billion a year through 2017; between 2017 and 2020, the amount would drop by 10 percent. Snyder has said he wants to bank some of those savings to help pay the state’s 10 percent contribution after 2020.

To turn away that kind of money for the state and cost state businesses millions all because of ideological opposition to Obamacare made no sense, and the House agreed.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, while noting that it is still firmly opposed to Obamacare, said the expansion was critical for Michigan businesses.

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