Lansing Update: August 2, 2013
- Medicaid Passes Senate Government Operations Committee
- Signatures Needed for Abortion Opt-Out Petition
Medicaid Passes Senate Government Operations Committee
Legislation that would expand Medicaid health care coverage to approximately 450,000 uninsured Michigan residents is now on its way to the State Senate. With the support of Michigan Catholic Conference, House Bill 4714, as substituted by the Senate, passed the Senate Government Operations Committee and now awaits full Senate consideration at the end of the month. The bill retains many of the concepts passed last month by the House of Representatives, including expanding Medicaid coverage to those earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The legislation would require federal waivers to allow the state Department of Community Health (DCH) to charge participants co-pays and to increase premiums after 48 months for able-bodied persons. HB 4714 would also place additional responsibilities on DCH, such as creating financial incentives for healthy behavior, developing a process for eligible individuals to start applying for expansion, and suggesting improvements to the effectiveness of the Medicaid program, among others.
The legislation has become a focal point for the state legislature after the House of Representatives passed HB 4714 and Governor Snyder strongly recommended the Senate follow suit. Medicaid expansion and reform is a product of the Affordable Care Act, which allows states to expand their Medicaid coverage to low-income families with financial support from the federal government. According to the policy, Congress will pay 100 percent of the expenses until 2020, when Michigan will take responsibility for 10 percent of the costs. MCC has strongly supported expanded health care access for the state’s poorer population. Click here to watch a video message in support of the bill and to learn how to email your State Senator [Link no longer available —Ed.] urging passage of the bill.
The Michigan Legislature is not expected to meet again until the end of August, as they are out currently on summer recess. The Senate Majority Leader has said that the discussion of Medicaid proposals will continue soon after their return.
Signatures Needed for Abortion Opt-Out Petition
As mentioned in a previous update, a signature gathering effort began on June 3 to collect at least 258,088 signatures for abortion opt-out legislation. By gathering the necessary signatures of registered voters during a 180-day period, voters will be able to put the legislation before the Michigan Legislature for approval into law, similar to laws that 21 states have already put into place. If passed, the abortion opt-out legislation would prohibit insurance coverage for abortion in the state health exchange created by federal reform and require individuals with private insurance to pay for an optional rider if they want to purchase abortion coverage.
Please order petitions today and share them with your friends, family, and co-workers. Michigan Catholic Conference encourages parishes to participate in signature gathering efforts as well.
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