Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 6, 2013

Pressure builds as Snyder nears Medicaid decision

Expansion would give coverage to 470,000 residents


---- — LANSING (AP) — Should Gov. Rick Snyder throw his support behind a plan to extend Medicaid coverage to 470,000 Michigan residents without health insurance, it would be the second time in less than 18 months the Republican has bucked many from his own party on a major health care question.

In the first battle, Snyder lost. His call to implement an online marketplace where the uninsured can get taxpayer-subsidized private coverage died in the GOP-controlled Legislature.

If he calls for increasing Medicaid eligibility Thursday in his budget proposal, Snyder will again find himself in the middle of a contentious fight over Michigan's role in implementing parts of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

While leaders in the medical community insist the Medicaid expansion is needed and conservatives in the Legislature label it a federal takeover, Snyder may fall somewhere in between.

He opposes the federal health care law but pragmatically has tried to consider the options it gives to the state.

Snyder's backing of Medicaid expansion would not be that surprising given his try for a state-run health exchange only to end up on a path toward a marketplace controlled primarily by the federal government. Though the governor said the Affordable Care Act misses the point on how to really fix health care, he argued that having a state-operated exchange would let Michigan — not Washington — call the shots.