State Legislators Debating Medicaid Expansion, Notes Michigan Elder Law Attorney
Bloomfield Hills, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 11, 2013 – Michigan state legislators are working on the 2014 budget for the state.
There is increased pressure from elder care advocates for legislators to include Medicaid expansion funds in the budget, as outlined by Gov. Rick Snyder in his proposal.
“The expansion of Medicaid would allow for health coverage to increase, covering roughly 75,000 seniors in Michigan,” stated Michigan elder law attorney Christopher Berry. “While there seems to be more to examine about cost to taxpayers and the ensuring burden, all of our state’s seniors need the security and safety of health insurance, one way or another.”
According to the senior advocacy group the AARP, older adults ages 50 to 64 have the potential for health issues in the future if they cannot have access to regular, quality medical care in a timely fashion. Their lack of coverage means they cannot deal with medical issues early on, which can lead to long-term care issues down the road. It makes fiscal sense, say advocates, to support people’s health needs now, rather than have to foot the bill for more costly issues later.
The Medicaid expansion is expected to save Michigan roughly $200 million a year from now until the end of 2019. Under the Affordable Care Act, states may choose to expand Medicaid coverage; the federal government will reimburse the state the cost, estimated to be approximately $2 billion, through the end of 2016.
However, Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation has recently released a cost report, which states that Medicaid expansion was likely to cost taxpayers in Michigan an estimated $1.3 billion by 2022. How state legislators will come down on the issue has yet to be decided.
Effective January 1, 2014, Medicaid is slated to be expanded in order to include people ages 19 up to 65, including parents, and adults without dependent children, who have an income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, based on their modified adjusted gross income. Medicaid is a health insurance program designed for families and individuals with low income and limited assets, jointly funded by each state and the federal government. Medicaid is available to U.S. citizens or to legal permanent residents; poverty alone does not automatically qualify someone for Medicaid.
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