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Next step for Medicaid expansion is back to the state House

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s now up to the state House to decide whether to send a bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

That’s after the state Senate narrowly approved the bill yesterday.  

But the Senate may have also delayed when the expansion could actually take effect.

Getting the bill through the state Senate wasn’t easy. In fact, it failed the first time the chamber took it up for a vote. But senators agreed to reconsider the vote. And after hours of deliberation, it passed. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says this was a particularly tough vote for many of his Republican colleagues.

“Up until last night, some people were still mulling over which way they wanted to go, because it’s a difficult decision for everyone involved,” says Richardville. 

Governor Rick Snyder praised the Senate for moving the bill forward.

“So now we’re going to have an opportunity hopefully, with House passage, to move forward in terms of taking care of many hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. And we all know someone that falls in that category – hard working people, but lower-income people, that couldn’t afford health insurance,” says Snyder.

But the Senate did not vote to give the bill immediate effect.

It’s a procedural vote that determines when a law is actually enacted.

That could mean implementation of the measure would be delayed from January until April of next year.

Michigan Department of Human Services Director Jim Haveman says the state stands to lose out on seven million federal dollars every day the expansion is delayed.

“You can multiply 90 times seven – that’s a lot of money,” says Haveman, “Now, as the governor says, hopefully as things settle down, the Senate can take another look at this. And it would be nice to get immediate effect so we can start this on January 1.”

The state House could take a final vote on the bill as early as next week.

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