medicaid

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Medicaid benefits used to be available mostly to low-income children, pregnant women, and disabled adults in Michigan. But that changed in 2013 when Michigan voted to use federal funds from the Affordable Care Act to extend those benefits to more people. Gov. Rick Snyder was a major force behind the legislation, saying it would mean lower healthcare costs and more federal dollars for Michigan. Healthy Michigan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program, has enrolled nearly 600,000 people to date. But the future of the program depends on the Department of Health and Human Services getting a waiver from the federal government.

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As enrollment in the state’s Healthy Michigan program continues, many of the state’s Community Mental Health officials have been sounding the alarm that they do not have sufficient funds to treat everyone who comes to them for help. In fact, there have already been scattered reports of people being cut off from state mental health services due to the shift in funding caused by the Medicaid expansion.

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Two notable developments related to health insurance take place in just a few days. Monday is the last day for Americans to sign up for coverage on healthcare.gov without incurring a penalty on their federal taxes next year. Healthcare.gov is the federal website functioning as an insurance exchange for 36 states, including Michigan. The next day, April 1st, is the first day close to a half-million low-income Michigan residents can enroll for coverage offered by the ‘Healthy Michigan’ plan.

Another fight related to Medicaid expansion could be coming soon in the state Legislature.

Most states that have decided to expand their Medicaid programs under the federal Affordable Care Act started signing people up Tuesday.

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