Despite a strong last-minute push by Gov. Rick Snyder, a proposal to expand Medicaid in Michigan under the federal Affordable Healthcare Act appears to be going down the drain.
Along with it, so goes the hopes of nearly a half-million low-income residents who would qualify for affordable healthcare benefit under the Medicaid expansion.
The state House Appropriations subcommittee handling the Department of Community Health budget passed Snyder’s budget today without the expansion. Snyder had argued it made sense for Michigan to join in the expansion since it is fully federally funded through 2017; ultimately the state would pay only 10 percent of the costs.
In fact, the state stood to take in a net profit this year of $200 million from the feds because the Medicaid expansion would pay for mental health services already funded by the state. Failing to expand means the state would pay that $200 million costs itself.
However, Republicans, who control the House, are worried that the feds will fail to meet their commitments and eventually leave the states holding the bag to fund an expanded Medicaid.
The expansion proposal is not yet dead, however. It could be added back later during the budget process.
One thing remains clear. Unless the Legislature does something, hundreds of thousands of people will continue to go without healthcare in Michigan.