Medicaid expansion won't take effect in January
Written by DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 13:33

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of low-income Michigan adults likely will wait an extra three months to qualify for insurance provided through the federal health care law after the state Senate on Tuesday decided against putting Medicaid expansion legislation into effect immediately.

When Democrats asked to reconsider last week's failed vote on immediate effect, they were told the bill was no longer in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Republican Lt. Gov Brian Calley, who presides over the Senate, told The Associated Press the issue most likely will not be brought up again in the chamber.

"I believe at this point that the bill has moved on so it's unlikely it would come back for an immediate effect vote," he said.

The bill is now in the GOP-led House, which is expected to give it final approval later in the day. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder plans to sign it after returning from a 10-day trade trip to Asia.

Because the bill won't take effect right away, newly eligible residents must wait until late March or early April to qualify instead of as early as Jan. 1.

Medicaid expansion is part of a strategy to ensure nearly all Americans have health insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. It was designed to cover the neediest uninsured people but became optional for states because of a Supreme Court decision last year.

Many GOP-led states have declined the expansion, despite the U.S. government promising to cover the entire cost for the first three years and 90 percent later. Michigan is poised to become the seventh state led by a Republican governor to sign up.

Last week, Snyder brought just enough Senate Republicans into his corner to vote to expand the government health insurance program. But he could not persuade enough Republicans to take a procedural vote in a chamber where opposition to the Affordable Care Act is staunch.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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