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State Senate approves Medicaid expansion

Kathy Gray

Update 8:35 p.m.

The state Senate’s approval of the Medicaid expansion bill is being cheered and booed.

Governor Rick Snyder released this statement after the state Senate’s vote:

“The Senate should be commended for approving the Healthy Michigan plan, which will make a difference in the lives of nearly half-a-million Michiganders along with saving tax dollars and boosting our economy. “Healthy Michigan reflects the values and needs of Michigan and its people. It will provide health care coverage to 470,000 Michiganders, most working but earning less than $15,000 a year. “The Healthy Michigan plan emphasizes personal responsibility. Those covered by the plan will be required to share in the costs through premiums. There also will be incentives for them to take responsibility for their lifestyle choices and to maintain or improve their health. “Healthy Michigan will make our state healthier and stronger. It also will save money for the state’s taxpayers and job providers, help control medical costs, improve the state’s business climate, and boost our economy. All of these are crucial to continue Michigan’s comeback.”

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association is praising passage of the legislation:

“Michigan hospitals have supported achieving universal healthcare coverage for decades. The passage of House Bill 4714 is a significant event which ensures a large portion of residents who are currently uninsured can access care in the right place, at the right time – and do so affordably. This legislation will improve the well-being of hundreds of thousands of residents who will now be able to receive preventive care and take ownership of their health. At the same time, it will save the state, businesses and taxpayers money to invest in our growing economy.”

Americans for Prosperity has long campaigned against any legislation with connections to the Affordable Care Act. State Director Scott Hagerstrom issued this statement after the state Senate approved expanding Medicaid:

“The State Senators who voted to expand Medicaid just voted to implement ObamaCare. We are prepared to dedicate significant resources to educating citizens on how their Senators voted on this issue. “The consequences of ObamaCare are already being felt—from workers who face cuts in their hours to those being pushed off their existing health insurance plans. As the failures of this law pile up, I have no doubt that some of the lawmakers who today supported this proposal will regret that decision. “Our state leaders can no longer blame the failures of President Obama’s health care law on Washington, DC, politicians alone. By agreeing to expand Medicaid they are complicit with the Obama Administration in implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

8:15 p.m.

The Michigan State Senate passes Medicaid expansion bill.   The final vote 20 to 18.    

The state Senate has approved a bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan on a second attempt. Earlier today, the bill failed on an initial vote because it did not get the 20 votes necessary to pass. Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) switched to "yes" on the second vote.

7:58 p.m.

Michigan State Senate returning to session after an hour long Republican caucus session. 

A re-vote on the Medicaid expansion bill may be soon.

5:50 p.m.

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan has failed in a first vote on the floor of the state Senate.

The vote was 19 in favor, 18 opposed, with staunch opponent Sen. Patrick Colbeck refusing to cast a vote.

A bill needs 20 votes to pass the chamber. Colbeck's abstaining meant Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley could not cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill.

The Senate has moved to reconsider the vote, which means the chamber will likely try again to pass the bill.

4:36 p.m.

The state Senate is moving closer to a decision on whether to approve expanding Medicaid in Michigan.

The bill would extend health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Gretchen Whitmer is the top Democrat in the Senate. She’s urging her Republican colleagues to take a vote before the end of the day today.

"It's been roundly debated," said Whitmer. "There is Democratic and Republican support. The business community, the patient community, the provider community, everyone’s come together, and these are not groups that are always on the same page. I think this is the right thing to do for Michigan, and I’d love to see us move this out of here today."

Earlier today, an alternative plan to extend coverage to low-income people using only state dollars was easily voted down.

*This post will be updated.

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