calculator and financial paperwork
Dave Dugdale via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 /

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration and Republicans in the Legislature are at odds over how to pay for the Medicaid program.

The state currently uses a small tax on health insurance claims to get federal matching money to fund health care services.

The state tried other approaches, and, after a few misfires, that satisfied a requirement that the mechanism to get federal money must be “broad-based.”

But the claims tax is opposed by many Republicans and business leaders, who say it drives up the cost of health coverage.

Michigan is getting $17.2 million after drugmaker Pfizer Inc. agreed to resolve allegations that one of its companies failed to give Medicaid the same discounts it provided to private purchasers of a heartburn treatment.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Wednesday detailed the state's portion of the settlement that totals nearly $785 million.

The tentative deal that resolves allegations filed by two whistleblowers was first announced in February, but final approval was announced Wednesday by the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.

Alex Proimos via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

Michigan's tax on health insurance will continue under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The bill enacted Tuesday extends the health insurance claims assessment, which helps pay for Medicaid for low-income residents, until July 2020.

The tax would have gone away in two years if the legislation were not adopted.

The 0.75 percent tax is expected to rise to 1 percent in 2017 when the federal government no longer allows another tax to fund Medicaid.

Critics such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce call the bill a tax increase.

The federal government is extending Medicaid health insurance to Flint residents up to age 21 and to pregnant women who were exposed to lead in the city's water supply.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell says 15,000 people will qualify and 30,000 current Medicaid recipients will be eligible for more services.

They'll qualify for lead monitoring of their blood as well as behavioral health services.

Michigan's tax on health insurance would continue into 2020 under legislation approved by the state Legislature.

The Republican-controlled Senate and House voted Wednesday to extend the health insurance claims assessment, which helps pay for Medicaid for low-income residents.

The tax goes away in two years if the bill isn't enacted.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has called it a "giant tax hike," but Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the legislation.

Gov. Rick Snyder is asking the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage to people under 21 and pregnant women who have been exposed to Flint's lead-contaminated water.

In a statement released Sunday, Snyder says about 15,000 more Flint residents would benefit if the government approves the request.

The governor says the state would help by lining up doctors and behavioral health specialists and providing other services.

For 18 months, Flint used the Flint River for drinking water.

Michigan secures waiver to continue Medicaid expansion

Dec 17, 2015

Michigan has received a federal waiver that ensures 600,000 low-income adults will continue qualifying for Medicaid insurance.

The expanded program would have ended next spring without the approved waiver, which was announced Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

A state law establishing Healthy Michigan required the state to get a second waiver from the Obama administration or the program launched in 2014 would have gone away on April 30.

Medically frail inmates would be considered for parole under bipartisan bills in the state House.

Inmates would undergo an evaluation by a physician chosen by the Department of Corrections.

If granted parole, supporters say sick prisoners would be transferred to other facilities that are better equipped to treat them.

“These are folks that the other prisoners can take advantage of,” said state Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville). “And we think there’s a more humane way to deal with their situation and possibly save some money for the state as well.”

Patient advocates and two hospital-affiliated HMOs say a decision to drop them from the state’s Medicaid program will impose hardships on the people they serve.

They’re hoping the state will reverse the decision before it takes effect in January.

Health Alliance Plan and the Physicians Health Plan were dropped from the state’s Medicaid list as part of a consolidation effort ratified Tuesday by a state executive board.

The idea is that fewer HMOs will make it easier to develop programs that promote healthy lifestyles, and offer more consistent services.

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Monthly guests from the Seidman College of Business join us.  Today, Professor Kevin Callison talks about a recent paper on the labor market effects of the ACA's Medicaid Expansion.