SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Gov. Rick Snyder says his Healthy Michigan program is about “common sense.”
Speaking live with Charlie Langton and Jackie Paige on WWJ Newsradio 950 Tuesday, Snyder said it’s time to put party politics and emotions aside and work together toward a health care solution.
That solution, he says, is the passage of legislation that would put 400,000 low-income Michigan workers on Medicaid.
“To be really blunt about this, think about it: We have a broken system today,” Snyder said. “The question I asked some Senators already … If you vote no on Healthy Michigan — how are you gonna feel when you have to go visit an ER … and you walk in that emergency room and see people sitting in chairs waiting to get health care, and looking at those people recognizing many of them didn’t have another place to go.”
Snyder said one of 20 Michiganders is without health insurance. “Their idea of health care, where they have to go to go for health care, is largely the emergency room. That’s an answer none of us should have to face,” Snyder said, adding that many people, worried about the costs, put off seeing a doctor until the situation becomes serious — or worse.
“… In fact, some of those people may die,” Snyder said. “I mean you’re talking a matter of life or death for people here.”
GOV. SNYDER IN STUDIO – PART 1
Snyder’s remarks come after the state Senate adjourned for summer break on June 20 without voting on Medicaid expansion legislation, much to the governor’s dismay. Snyder has the support of Michigan Democrats on the issue, and the House already passed the bill with what Snyder calls “broad bipartisan support.”
Medicaid currently covers roughly one in five Michigan residents — mainly low-income children, pregnant women and the disabled.
Under the federal health care overhaul, states can expand Medicaid to adults making up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or about $15,300 for an individual. The U.S. government is offering to cover the entire cost initially and 90 percent down the line.
Snyder is continuing to push the resistant GOP-controlled Senate on the issue — saying the state is projected to save $206 million in the 2014 fiscal year by providing Healthy Michigan plan benefits to people now receiving services paid with general fund dollars.
Hospitals, insurers and small businesses are on board, while some conservative groups are pressuring senators to stand firm. Snyder says his plan has cost-containment features and has support from all corners of the medical industry.
“What’s the other option? To do nothing,” said Snyder. “The other option is to say we’re not going to do Healthy Michigan; we’re gonna walk away and leave hundreds of thousands of people with this disastrous system they have now.”
“In many respects I view this as an important issue about the culture of our state, and how we act towards one another,” Snyder said.
“The Michigan of 2009 was the do nothing Michigan. The Michigan of today is we’re the comeback state,’ because we’re putting solutions in place; we’re trying things; we’re using relentless positive action to say, here are solutions and are they perfect? Here’s a way to improve on them and to keep going. At least you’re in the game to solve the problems.”