May 9, 2013 Bookmark and Share

Greimel Calls Republican Medicaid Alternative Heartless, Irresponsible

Plan ends care after four years, requires premium of 5 percent of income

LANSING – House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) condemned a Republican plan to gut Medicaid expansion unveiled Thursday, criticizing it for offering only token assistance to people in desperate need of health care while requiring working poor families to spend up to 5 percent of their annual income on a watered-down health plan. The plan relies wholly on federal dollars and would end as soon as the state would have to contribute a single cent to help Michiganders, possibly allowing the state to lose out on hundreds of millions of federally matched dollars.

“This plan is a slap in the face to anyone in desperate need of health care who had hoped our state would do the reasonable thing and accept federal funds to expand Medicaid,” Greimel said. “We should have done the responsible thing and accepted federal funds to pay for Medicaid expansion, bringing health care to 400,000 Michigan residents who currently have none. Instead, Republicans want some of our most struggling families to pay 5 percent of their annual income to get limited access to health care for a short time only — while insisting the state never contribute a single penny to the program Republicans proposed. It’s heartless, irresponsible and an insult to the people of Michigan.”

The Republican plan would cut non-disabled people off of the plan after 48 months of care. It would also expect families that fall within 133 percent of the federal poverty line to pay up to 5 percent of their income a year to access the substandard plan.

“Medical conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis and emphysema don’t magically disappear after four years, but the ‘help’ being offered by Republicans does,” Greimel said. “And when an adult earns just $15,281a year — 133 percent of the federal poverty level — they need every dollar to go toward paying rent, buying groceries and utilities. They can’t afford to pay 5 percent of their income for a mediocre health plan. The Republican plan is shameful. We can do better than this.”

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