Testimony On Medicaid Expansion Legislation To House Government Operations Committee

MichUHCAN, a non-profit, statewide education and advocacy organization on health care issues, strongly supports the expansion of Medicaid in Michigan as allowed by the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. Medicaid is not a “hand out”, but rather a “hand up” to the 450 – 600,000 Michigan citizens who lack the ability to purchase health insurance. Medicaid is an investment in our people that has and will continue to pay large, positive dividends into the future. Sick people cannot work or work less productively, sick children cannot learn at the rate of their healthy peers. Denying healthcare coverage and or asking our citizens to get intermittent healthcare in our hospital Emergency Rooms is costly, immoral and downright ridiculous.

One cannot opine that he/she is working for a healthy, productive state and then refuse to vote for a program that supports our citizens to achieve these ends. I ask Senators who oppose the legislation to “walk in the shoes” of their uninsured constituents for a month. Many are working several jobs that do not provide health insurance. Any medical need can keep them from work for days and a hospitalization will drive them to bankruptcy. It is not easy to find jobs will health insurance when your skills and/or education are not sufficient for to qualify you for them. Our citizens need programs and supports that raise them up the economic ladder and not push them off.

To many of us, this battle over Medicaid Expansion appears to be a political, ideological one, rather than one that is based on research data and common sense

MichUHCAN asks Senators to step back and review the data of the current program, with all its barriers to enrollment. It works. When citizens have access to healthcare and no longer have the stress of paying for all their healthcare bills on their own, they are healthier, happier and more productive. Our founding fathers envisioned a structure of government that supported citizens in the pursuit of happiness. If we want citizens who work and contribute to Michigan’s economy, let’s start by removing the barrier of ill health.

The Expansion of Medicaid is good for citizens and good for Michigan’s economic health. It will bring new jobs, save old jobs, save health care costs over time and help Michigan’s budget immediately when the federal government picks up 100% of the expansion costs from 2014-2016.

Please, Senators, look at the health research and do the math. Medicaid Expansion should then be a “no brainer” YES vote for all of you. Michigan citizens do not need you to spend any more time “studying” the issue or looking for ways to “make it better” from your point of view. Just vote yes and evaluate its impact over time. Changes can then be made on data and not political ideas. Your inaction is causing anger and frustration to build in the electorate. Vote Yes immediately.

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