By Tim Skubick
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK)
400,000 Michigan residents who don't have it now would get health care if Governor Rick Snyder has his way.
The governor wants lawmakers to put Michigan into President Barack Obama's expanded Medicare system with the promise from Washington that it will pay for the first three years of the coverage.
It sounds almost too good to be true as the governor is embracing a part of the Affordable Health Care Act that would extend insurance to the uninsured in Michigan for the first time. Health care officials are embracing this notion with the governor promising better health care for the needy at a cost savings for the typical taxpayer. "In the first year, 2014 it would save us over $200 million dollars." Snyder said on Wednesday.
If the needy get their health care in a doctors office with this medicaid insurance, the experts say it will keep them from going to the emergency room where the costs are off the charts. Rep. Joe Haveman, a Holland Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said the proposal deserves a closer look, "we have 1.2 million people in this state who don't have health insurance. This will bring in 46 percent of those to cover them with basic health," he said.
In addition the elderly between 50 and 64 will benefit as well. But here's the potential rub.
House republicans who don't much care for Obamacare are not signing off just yet. They want to make sure the state taxpayers don't get stuck with the bill after the federal aid ends. The governor says he will build a health care fund to make sure that does not happen.
At least one lobbyist for the needy thinks republicans will sign off. Gilda Jacobs said, "when republicans realize the good that this will do, not only for the state budget but for the people of their district, they're going to be able to come along easily." We'll have to wait and see.