Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

May 11, 2013

State official doubts Medicaid time limit

(Continued)

Haveman pointed to positives in the plan, such as incentivizing healthy living among nondisabled adults, making them pay premiums or copays and creating individual health savings accounts.

“Our belief is (our) plan was a pretty good plan. But I do like the personal engagement that’s in this bill. I think there’s a lot in this bill we can work with,” Haveman said.

House hearings on the legislation will begin next week.

Haveman said he understands legislators’ desire to make recipients more personally responsible for their care and to revisit Medicaid expansion when the federal government stops covering the entire cost of expansion in the future.

The federal health care law allows states to expand Medicaid to adults making up to 133 percent of the poverty level, about $15,300 for an individual. Republicans who control the Legislature have resisted GOP Gov. Rick Snyder’s call to expand the program, but have been more open if changes are made at the state level.

The U.S. government would need to grant a waiver for Michigan to proceed with changes included in the House bill.

Working parents in Michigan currently qualify for the taxpayer-funded insurance if they earn up to about half the poverty line, $11,800 for a family of four. Nondisabled adults without children who make less than 35 percent of the poverty level, or $4,000 for an individual, also get Medicaid — though the program generally is closed to new participants.

An estimated 320,000 state residents — many of them adults without children — could be added to Medicaid in 2014 and 470,000 by 2021, cutting the state’s uninsured by nearly half.

Uninsured with higher incomes will be covered by a federal insurance marketplace offering taxpayer-subsidized private plans.

“Many of them are working in $8 to $10 to $12 an hour jobs,” Haveman said of those covered if Michigan expands Medicaid eligibility. “They don’t have health care. So when they do need health care, they go to the ER room or don’t get it or they wait until they got stage 4 cancer. So we know we can do a better preventive job for those folks.”

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Email David Eggert at deggert(at)ap.org and follow him at http://twitter.com/DavidEggert00

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