Governor signs Medicaid expansion at Oakwood

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Photo courtesy of state Rep. George Darany
Gov. Rick Snyder (ninth from left) signed the state’s Medicaid reform bill at a ceremony hosted by Oakwood Healthcare Systems in Dearborn Sept. 16. The legislation will expand Medicaid to include approximately 450,000 working Michiganders and compliment the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” State representatives — including bill sponsor state Rep. Matt Lori (R-Constantine, eighth from left) — and OHS employees joined Snyder for the bill signing.

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Gov. Rick Snyder visited Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center to sign a bill expanding Medicaid coverage to state residents on Sept. 16. He was joined by U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-12th District) at the event.

The bill is anticipated to cover 320,000 state residents in the first year and roughly 470,000 over time. Many of those covered work but earn about $15,000 a year.

Snyder said the legislation is an important part of Michigan’s financial comeback.

“Today, we’re reaching out to nearly a half-million Michiganders with a message that help is there for them and their families to lead healthier, more productive lives,” Snyder said. “This innovative approach will make our recovering economy stronger, too, saving money for taxpayers and job providers.”

Dingell, who visited Lansing early in June to rally support for the Medicaid expansion, congratulated Snyder on his work in lobbying state Republicans behind the legislation.

Dingell also said that Michigan residents will “have a healthier future” because of the bill.

Snyder said the bipartisan support was necessary for the bill, but that health care is important regardless of political leaning.

“This is about the health of fellow Michiganders,” Snyder said. “The right answer is not to talk about politics, but to talk about our family of 10 million people.”

House Bill 4714, or the “Healthy Michigan” plan, will offer Medicaid recipients premiums that are income-based and that can be reduced through healthy lifestyle choices. The premiums will also be raised if the recipients decides to stay on the program for more than four years.

Michigan is the third state led by both a republican governor and legislature to pass Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Dingell partially authored the ACA.

Overall, they are one of 24 states along with Washington, D.C., to expand the program.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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