This month’s Coffee with Christine will be held at the Oshtemo Township Building, 7275 W. Main St., Kalamazoo, MI 49009, on Sept. 22 at 10:30 a.m. I always look forward to meeting constituents face to face, answering questions and hearing your concerns directly.
Last week, I was honored to testify on House Bill 4624 in front of a joint committee hearing between the House Committee on Criminal Justice and the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety. This legislation would increase the reimbursement formula for the Child Care Fund administered by the Department Health and Human Services.
The fund reimburses counties for programs that serve neglected, abused and delinquent youth. Funding may be used for out-of-home placements such as foster homes or county-operated facilities. Expenditures may also be made for in-home services that allow children to remain in their own homes, which may include job training skills, intensive probation, community wraparound services, mentoring, family counseling, electronic tethers, alternatives to detention and other community-based services.
My legislation is part of a larger set of bills to implement recommendations from the Michigan’s Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform. The task force was a bipartisan group chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and had members from the Legislature, judges, prosecutors, department staff and nonprofits. The bills in the package seek to reform multiple areas of the youth justice system, including:
- Support for evidence-based programs that reduce incarceration.
- Adopting data-driven tools to guide diversion and court and detention decisions.
- Incentivizing the use of research-based practices.
- Creating a statewide youth public defense system and best practice standards.
I am grateful for state Rep. Kara Hope and state Sen. Stephanie Chang for leading the Legislature on this very important issue.
MDHHS Medicaid Redeterminations:
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE), making it easier for Medicaid members to keep their health care coverage. Per recent federal legislation, eligibility renewals started again in June. Monthly renewal notifications started going out in the spring and will continue to go out through the remainder of the year.
Here are the steps that Medicaid beneficiaries should take, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS):
- Make sure your address, phone number and email address are up to date at Michigan.gov/MIBridges. You can also call your local MDHHS office. If you do not have an online account for MI Bridges to access your Medicaid case or report changes, visit Michigan.gov/MIBridges to sign up for an account. You can also locate organizations that can help you by searching for community partners.
- Report any changes to your household or income. You can report changes at Michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling your local MDHHS office.
- If you get a renewal packet, be sure to fill it out, sign the forms and return it by the due date with any proof needed. Renewal packets are due 30 days after you receive them. NOTE: If you do not complete and return the renewal, you may lose Medicaid coverage.
If you receive notice that you or a family member are no longer eligible for Medicaid or MIChild benefits, don’t worry; you have other options, including options for low or no-cost coverage, but it is important to take action as soon as possible to reduce the risks that come from a lapse in coverage. More information is available at 2023 Benefit Changes (michigan.gov).
For questions about purchasing a health plan on HealthCare.gov, visit Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance, or call the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) at 877-999-6442, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More information about changes to food assistance and Medicaid benefits connected to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency can be found at Michigan.gov/2023BenefitChanges.
Double Up Food Bucks:
Buying food is expensive right now, but Double Up Food Bucks is here to help. For those who shop for groceries with a SNAP/Michigan Bridge Card, they can double their benefits to purchase fresh, Michigan-grown fruits and veggies using Double Up Food Bucks – up to $10/day. The program is available at 240+ participating farmers markets and grocery stores across Michigan. With farmers market season around the corner, it’s a great time to use the program! Learn how it works and find a participating location near you at DoubleUpFoodBucks.org.
Gov. Whitmer is committed to having a cabinet and executive office that is representative of Michigan. That commitment applies as well to the governor’s 240 appointments to the various boards and commissions that serve the state. The Appointments Division is responsible for seeking qualified candidates to fulfill these responsibilities.
As your state representative, I believe you would be great in being an active part of our democracy by leaving a legacy of our vision and values through an appointment. I encourage you to apply for an appointment at michigan.gov/appointments.
Thank you all for staying connected with my updates, as always please feel free to reach out to my office at any time should you have questions or concerns about any legislative or local issues. My office can be reached at ChristineMorse@house.mi.gov or (517) 373-8670, and any friends or neighbors who wish to join my mailing list can do so here.
House District 40