Michigan should take a dose of its own Medicaid-tion

By Postie Editors

Michigan governor Rick Snyder will testify before the State Legislature next week, possibly recommending the expansion of Medicaid for a half-million more Michigan residents.

This could result in an extra $1.5-2 billion in Federal funding, according to an article in the Detroit News. Ultimately the goal is to provide much-needed health coverage to more residents.

We are pushing for Governor Snyder to take the deal — but only if the money is going to go to those who need it.

In 2011, Michigan booted 300,000 college students from the Food Stamp Program, according to an article by Fox News.

Technically, college students are not eligible for the program, but certain criteria for employment and training made college enrollment a loophole, according to the same article. The change in rules made it so only single mothers and students who work at least 20 hours a week could continue receiving benefits through the program.

While we encourage the support of young children in need, we think government funding needs to be made more steadily available to those who are not necessarily expanding the population, but working to better it.

You don’t need to tell us how hard it is to take a full class load and work a regular job. College students are those responsible for the future well-being of our community, so it should be seen that they are able to get there safely and in good health.

Our question for Gov. Snyder stands: if Medicaid is going to be pumped with more money, are hard-working college students going to see any of it?

The increase would, “expand coverage to people within 133 percent of the federal poverty level: $11,702 for a single person with no children, $23,021 for a family of four,” said Kathleen Gray in an article for the Detroit Free Press.

Several groups are in support of the measure, including the Michigan State Medical Society, according to the article by The Detroit News. State Republicans on the other hand are squeamish about taking the deal, fearing the federal government won’t follow through on its promise to deliver the money.

With the Affordable Care Act deadline looming less than a year away, we need as many Michigan residents to have health coverage as possible.

Around 1.9 million Michigan residents are currently covered by Medicaid, according to the Department of Human Resources.

Even with the addition of an extra half-million, this would provide Medicaid benefits to almost a quarter of the state’s population.

This may seem like a staggering statistic, but www.SateHealthFacts.org shows there are 1,213,400 uninsured residents in Michigan. Even if Snyder took the deal, that would still leave three-quarters of a million without health coverage in Michigan, or about eight percent of the state’s population.

Eight percent just happens to be Michigan’s unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

How can we expect people to get back to work, if they are not kept in good health while they are on the job hunt?

With Medicaid taking up 21.2 percent of Michigan’s budget, $2 billion in federal money could help support the budget of covering more uninsured or underinsured Michigan residents — especially people like you.

The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board. Contact them via email at [email protected]