The Michigan state Senate has adjourned until August without taking a vote on the “Healthy Michigan” bill, which would expand the state’s Medicaid program under Obamacare. Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who supports the expansion, expressed his displeasure with that outcome during a press conference on Thursday evening.
“I contacted the Senate Majority Leader and asked them to take a vote, because I believe a majority of Michiganders support Healthy Michigan,” said Snyder, who was flanked by doctors, nurses, and hospital officials. “I even think a majority of the Senate supports Healthy Michigan. But they’re not taking a vote on it. My understanding is they’re going to recess and leave. That’s not right. I want to issue a call to all Michiganders to join me and say to Senate Republicans, ‘take a vote, not a vacation.’”
Medicaid expansion would extend health coverage to almost half a million poor Michigan residents, giving them the financial freedom to pursue basic treatments and benefits such as doctor’s visits and prescription drug services. Without insurance, many of these low-income Americans have to resort to using the emergency room — a costly and inefficient alternative that Snyder criticized during his press conference.
“We have a broken health care system in this country,” said Snyder. “We have people sitting in the emergency room, and we have a situation where there’s uncompensated care… That’s a failure for all of us. That’s a failure for those individuals, and that’s a failure for us as a society.”
“It’s not just about policy. We’re talking about human beings here,” he continued.
The Michigan state house approved Medicaid expansion last week — but efforts have stalled in the Senate, where Republicans hold a much larger 26 to 12 majority over Democrats.
Several GOP governors have been battling their own parties to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, to varying degrees of success. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) pushed her party into expanding Medicaid last week; Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich (R) invoked Ronald Reagan to justify his support for the expansion earlier this month; and Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) ultimately lost his fight to convince his legislature to take part in the expansion, leaving one million poor residents without health coverage.