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Senate hesitates to vote on expanding Michigan Medicaid

Governor Rick Snyder has called on the Legislature to pass a Medicaid expansion in Michigan in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Although the House passed the expansion, the Michigan Senate went on summer recess without voting on the bill. However, now a Senate Work Group will begin meeting over the summer months to consider the legislation.

Medicaid expansion has had the support of both the medical and business communities. Now former GOP House Speaker Rick Johnson is lending his voice in support of the call for Medicaid expansion. He discusses his reasons for supporting the proposed expansion, and the Senate’s hesitation on coming to a vote.

Former Speaker Johnson says that despite resistance to the Affordable Care Act from the Republican Caucus, the bill has been discussed for far too long to not be considered for a vote in the Senate.

“It’s been out here now six months, it’s been reviewed, it’s been kicked back and forth. We’re at a point where it’s time to make a choice. Let’s at least take the vote. Up or down, let’s take the vote,” Johnson explained.

Johnson believes that Senate members do indeed face a political risk if they do not pass the proposed expansion.

“When you’re looking at almost a half a million people getting health care, and you decide not to go in that direction, you’re going to have to have a really good excuse, a really good statement, as to why you did not implement it, especially since the Governor supports it so strongly,” said Johnson.

Although he may not particularly care for the Medicaid expansion, Johnson says that the Governor is a formidable opponent, and it may not be worth delaying an inevitable change.

“The Governor’s got a pretty good bully pulpit to stand here and say that this is to take care of a half a million people, this is to bring additional revenue to the state of Michigan....Do I necessarily like it? No, but it is the law of the land, and it’s time to take a vote.”

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