Michigan Republicans seek to stop outreach funding for state's Medicaid expansion program | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Michigan Republicans seek to stop outreach funding for state's Medicaid expansion program

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 12:22 PM

Here's a familiar tale.

Like Arkansas, Michigan expanded Medicaid via a special waiver program, enabling billions of federal dollars to flow into the state and providing health insurance for hundreds of thousands of the state's citizens. But anti-Obamacare lawmakers in the state are finding novel ways to thumb their nose at the law even as the state benefits from its funding. They're taking a page from the Arkansas playbook to do so. Arkansas lawmakers have consistently sought to block outreach funding for the Affordable Care Act, including the private option. They keep claiming that the law is a trainwreck that will collapse on its own, but they nevertheless do everything in their power to stop citizens from finding out about affordable health care options available under the law. It's the strangest thing. The obstructionism peaked with a 2014 amendment that banned all state-appropriated outreach funding related to the ACA. Oddly enough, this was a compromise measure to get the backing of Rep. Nate Bell. Bell agreed to vote to re-authorize the PO, but only if the state did everything in its power not to let anyone know about it. 

Looks like lawmakers in Michigan are up to the same shenanigans. Michigan Live reports: 

The state Department of Health and Human Services would have to stop spending $2 million per year on advertising for the Healthy Michigan plan under a proposal the Senate Health Policy Committee considered on Tuesday.

"It would prohibit any state dept from expending state funds to advertise the Healthy Michigan plan," said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, sponsor of Senate Bill 542.

Michigan officials said that efforts to inform potential beneficiaries about their coverage options had been extremely successful (more than 600,000 people have enrolled). Their outreach efforts are now transitioning to education on how to use their plan or promoting healthy behaviors. 

Naturally, anti-Obamacare Republicans want to keep beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries in the dark. 

Support for special health care reporting made possible by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel.

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