LANSING, MI (WTVB) - It took two tries but the Michigan Senate has approved the contentious Medicaid Expansion bill. The first vote fell short by one vote of passage on a technicality, because Tom Casperson of Escanaba did not vote the way he was expected to, and Senator Patrick Colbeck didn’t vote at all. After a vote to reconsider, a recess and no-doubt some back room arm-twisting, a concession was made and Casperson switched sides, and it passed 20 to 18. The bill now heads back to the house and what is expected to be easier passage.
The Senate bill made 17 changes to the House Bill. In a news conference held after the vote, Governor Rick Snyder says it will give about 475,000 Michiganders, the state’s working poor, access to healthcare. Because the votes were not there to give it immediate effect, eligible applicants may have to wait until next April instead of January to get access to Medicaid coverage. Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer says that will cost the state $7-million in lost aid every day if the republican majority can’t find the votes to fix it. Senator Mike Nofs of Battle Creek voted against Medicaid expansion, saying he preferred one of the alternative plans authored by Senator Bruce Caswell that failed.
House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall says he applauds the ssnate for working on the issue through the summer and says he plans on working for its passage in the House next week. He says it may be Obamacare, but it’s still the law of the land and they are trying to make the best of it.