House Dems Defend Health Care for Michigan Families
LANSING — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) held the first of two public hearings on proposed changes to the Healthy Michigan program today in Lansing. Proposed changes include controversial provisions from Senate Bill 897 that MDHHS officials estimated could impact up to 400,000 Michiganders, many of whom would lose their health care coverage. In addition to testifying at today’s public hearing, House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) and House Democratic Floor Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) submitted a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder and MDHHS Director Nick Lyons outlining the dangers of the waiver proposal.
“This proposal poses a substantial threat to the health and well-being of Michigan’s low-income workers, our most vulnerable residents, and the state economy,” said Singh. “Michigan families didn’t send us to Lansing to create bureaucratic red tape that will do nothing more than take away their health care coverage, yet that is exactly what the proposed changes to our Medicaid program would do. MDHHS has the opportunity to correct what Legislative Republicans got wrong and ensure every family in the state can live without fear of having their health care taken away.”
Recent public testimony in Kentucky resulted in a federal judge striking down similar changes, calling the proposal “arbitrary and capricious.” However, despite requirements that obligate MDHHS to provide documentation of submitted public comments before Michigan’s waiver can be approved, both public hearings are scheduled for only one hour during a normal workday.
A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that if a Medicaid work requirement similar to Michigan’s were imposed nationwide, 1.4 to 4 million people would lose coverage. The researchers warn that “most disenrollment would be among individuals who would remain eligible but lose coverage due to new administrative burdens or red tape.” Those outcomes directly contradict the stated goals of the Healthy Michigan Program, which include:
- Improving access to health care for uninsured or underinsured low-income Michigan residents
- Improving the quality of health care services delivered
- Reducing uncompensated care, and
- Encouraging individuals to seek preventive care and encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors.
Additional information on the proposed changes to Michigan’s Medicaid waiver and the process to submit comments can be found on the MDHHS website. A copy of the letter submitted by Leader Singh and Floor Leader Greig is attached.
 Rachel Garfield, Robin Rudowitz, and MaryBeth Musumeci, “Implications of a Medicaid Work Requirement: National Estimates of Potential Coverage Losses,” Kaiser Family Foundation, June 27, 2018, https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/implications-of-a-medicaid-work-requirement-national-estimates-of-potential-coverage-losses/.