On Monday, I held a town hall on the Legislature’s latest attempts to strip access to health care for Medicaid recipients. I was pleased to be joined by special guest Emily Schwarzkopf from the Michigan League for Public Policy, who gave a terrific presentation on the detrimental effects this legislation would have for working people throughout our state.
This bill — Senate Bill 897 — is a proposal to take health coverage away from people who do not meet certain requirements, including not working a set number of hours per month. The stringent application of these requirements would mean that those whose hours suddenly drop — particularly those working minimum-wage, hourly-paid jobs — would not only be at risk of suddenly losing their health care, but would be ineligible to re-enroll for a full year. This legislation is being pushed based on a myth that Medicaid recipients don’t work, despite the vast majority being employed. This bill does nothing to help working people stay healthy and find good-paying jobs. If anything, it makes it more difficult for people to find work and succeed in today’s economy if they are stripped of their health care coverage.
Worse yet, this bill will hurt some of the most vulnerable among us, including children and people with disabilities. And if that isn’t enough for everyone to oppose this callous legislation, then consider this: Senate Bill 897 will be expensive for taxpayers, costing an estimated $20-30 million annually. Beyond that, it has been proven that costs increase for taxpayers across the board when health care access is limited, as it increases the number of uninsured hospital and emergency room visits.
I am opposed to this legislation, which would endanger the health coverage that hundreds of thousands of Michiganders need to live meaningful and productive lives. If you were not able to join us at the town hall this past Monday and have any questions or concerns about this bill, please feel free to reach out to my office.