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State And Health Care Officials Call On Federal Government To Save Healthy Michigan


State officials and health care providers called on Washington lawmakers to keep the state’s Medicaid expansion Monday.

From doctors to the state budget director, the message is clear.  Let the state keep itsHealthy Michigan Medicaid expansion.  In order to do that, the federal government needs to keep paying for it. 

But right now, lawmakers in Washington are churning out plans that don’t seem to coincide with this goal. 

Nick Lyon is the Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  He said there are improvements that can be made to health care coverage.  But their main concern is keeping the Healthy Michigan expansion.

“Not only is it valuable to us from a budgetary perspective, it lower the cost long term,” he said.  “But also, it gets people the help and care they need before it turns into an urgent situation where they’re in ER.”

Lyon said the Medicaid expansion also helps the economy by keeping people healthy and working.

State officials aren’t the only ones calling on Washington to find a place in the new health care legislation.  Dr. Farhan Bhatti is the medical director of Care Free Medical.  It provides various medical treatments to people with limited access to health care and relies on the expansion.  

“What Care Free looks like, hinges on what happens at the federal level,” Bhatti said.

State Budget Director Al Pscholka said a part of the problem is people don’t actually understand how Medicaid works. 

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” he said.  “Once you actually study the policy and understand how it works, it makes a lot of sense to get people healthy.” 

Healthy Michigan has enrolled almost 680,000 people.  Over half of them voluntarily enrolled.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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