State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), a member of the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee, said the Medicaid expansion plan passed by the House on June 13 is a step forward for Michigan. The expansion plan, which will bring health care to 400,000 people who currently have none, was voted out of the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee and was later passed by a full vote of the House.

“Democracy worked in the best interest of Michigan citizens when we welcomed the responsibility to care for our fellow neighbors” said Santana. “Our committee worked in a true bipartisan fashion to get this historic piece of legislation passed. We worked as elected officials and put politics aside to better the future of our state.”

The bill voted on last week is vastly different from the first version of the bill introduced earlier this year. The 48-month cap on benefits that had existed is now gone for pregnant women, individuals who are medically frail or the terminally ill. At the end of four years, able-bodied adults on the program will have the option to continue Medicaid coverage at a slightly higher buy-in rate or to buy health care on the exchange.

The new version of the bill also removes a 2017 funding sunset when the federal government no longer pays 100 percent of the cost. Instead, it allows Michigan to continue offering expanded Medicaid until 2035 if the cost savings to the state is realized. That will bring a measure of economic security and the promise of continuing medical coverage to Michigan’s lowest-paid workers. Rep. Santana vows to continue working to bring better health care access to all people in the state.

“Although the legislation does not go far enough in my opinion, I am proud to be a part of bringing accessible and affordable health care to thousands of Michigan families and allow them to lead full and productive lives,” said Santana. “The fate of Michigan’s future is a combination of collective will and pursuit of common humanity and that is why I fully supported the Medicaid expansion bill.”