Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

June 28, 2013

Medicaid vote complicated by Mich. Capitol work

(Continued)

The Capitol upgrades are another twist in Snyder’s months-long push for Medicaid expansion, an option for states under the federal health care law. The Republican governor cut short a trade trip in Israel last week — scheduled months ago for a week when the Legislature was supposed to be gone — to try to save a House plan approved two weeks ago that he sees as a pragmatic way to make the Affordable Care Act a positive for Michigan and to save money.

But Richardville wants at least half of the Senate’s 26 Republicans to back Medicaid expansion or at least support proceeding with a vote. Expansion advocates believe if a vote had been called, eight to 11 Republicans would have joined all 12 Democrats to send a measure to Snyder’s desk.

Richardville spokeswoman Amber McCann said the majority leader didn’t hold a vote June 20 because the bill would have been defeated.

“He truly believes it would have ended the discussion on Medicaid,” she said. “The expansion of an entitlement program is not typically a Republican value.”

To pressure reluctant GOP senators in their districts and drum up public support, Snyder has visited four hospitals this week to call for a vote while meeting with sympathetic medical and business officials who support adding 470,000 low-income adults to Medicaid.

Richardville on Wednesday named a group of six Republican senators to meet over the summer to consider the issue. The group has no timeline to make a recommendation, though Snyder says time is running out if Michigan is to get federal approval in time to cover new enrollees starting Jan. 1.

The next technical legislative session day is Wednesday — when Senate Democrats plan to show up — though no one expects action. Non-voting session days also have been scheduled for July 18, Aug. 2 and Aug. 16, and Snyder is going to keep demanding a vote on those days.

Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said his visits around the state are getting senators’ attention.

“If you step back and take the politics away from it, from a policy standpoint it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Text Only