The sponsor of proposed Medicaid work requirements is dropping a provision that would have exempted recipients who live in Michigan counties with higher jobless rates, saying Gov. Rick Snyder's administration worries it would be an "administrative nightmare."


The state Legislature began discussions Wednesday on the newest plan to make people work for Medicaid. The bill would require able-bodied adults to perform an average of 30-hours of work, job training, or education every week. Pregnant adults, people with medical disabilities, and others would not be included.

Bill sponsor, Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and the CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Richard Studley, both agreed that the state’s Medicaid expansion, Healthy Michigan, isn’t working.

State auditors say Michigan could do a better job of identifying veterans who might be eligible for federal benefits. 

The audit released Friday says the state could save money if veterans on Medicaid switched to health programs run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Since 2015, Michigan's Veterans Affairs Agency is supposed to be working with another state department to identify Medicaid recipients, but the agency hasn't received the data.

Officials blamed it on staff turnover and other issues. The agency hopes to get the information early this year.

picture of dentist working in mouth
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan would authorize and license midlevel "dental therapists" to do work now performed by dentists under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The legislation won Senate approval 21-15 Wednesday. The House will consider it next.

Under the bill, dental therapists could practice if they reach an agreement with a supervising dentist. They could perform more common procedures than dental hygienists, such as filling cavities.

Supporters say the legislation would help ensure treatment for more patients in underserved populations, including in rural areas.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan concluded this week that residents enrolled in the state's expanded Medicaid program saw improvements to both their health and job performance. In addition, Medicaid had positive effects on both the employed and out of work who were enrolled in the Healthy Michigan plan.

According to a recently published medical study, expanding Medicaid coverage is associated with better outcomes for heart surgery patients in the state of Michigan. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. 

“The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of Medicaid expansion, on improving both access to health care and on (surgery) outcomes." Dr. Eric Charles of the University of Virginia said. Charles is a surgery resident at the University of Virginia, as well as one of the study's lead researchers.

Top officials in Gov. Rick Snyder's administration say it could cost Michigan up to $800 million a year to keep the state's Medicaid expansion program at current enrollment levels if cuts approved by the U.S. House are enacted. State Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon gave the estimate Monday during an event in which Snyder aides and advocates defended the expanded Medicaid program. 

Changes in Medicaid distributions worry school districts

May 15, 2017

School districts are worried about how proposed changes in Medicaid distributions will affect their funding. Administrators say any reduction in the estimated $4 billion schools receive in annual Medicaid reimbursements would be hard to absorb. Such cutbacks would come after years of reduced state funding and a weakened tax base.

Governor Rick Snyder took his veto pen to a plan adopted by the Legislature to change how the state raises money for the Medicaid program.

He was concerned the federal government would reject it. That would have put many millions of dollars in federal money for Medicaid at risk.

Business groups, in particular, have been frustrated with the current tax on health insurance claims. They say it drives up the cost of employee health coverage. /

The Michigan Legislature's approval of a change in how health insurers are taxed to help fund Medicaid sets up a showdown with Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Republican-led Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to continue a tax on Medicaid managed care organizations, shift funding around and more quickly end a tax on health insurance claims.

It's the latest in Michigan's long-running attempts to not run afoul of the federal government, which has indicated the Medicaid managed care tax should expire.

The legislation is headed to Snyder.