Michigan Republicans love to pass laws with “immediate effect”. It avoids the whole “gotta wait until 90 days after the close of the current legislative session” thing and the laws they pass go into effect immediately. They love it so much that, when I last did my analysis in early September, they had passed 94.3% of legislation sent to Governor Snyder to be signed in to law with immediate effect.
That’s a pretty good record.
It looks like this:
But, as we all are painfully aware, they simply could not bring themselves to pass Medicaid expansion with immediate effect. This resulted in two major issues. First, it’s going to cost the state over $600 million in lost federal revenues. Second, and more painfully, working poor Michiganders who make too little to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to buy insurance on the health care exchanges have to wait until April before they can be covered by Medicaid.
The real life stories of this completely unnecessary harm being done to our state’s poor residents are now starting to come to light. Yesterday, National Public Radio did a segment on the nationally-aired All Things Considered show, highlighting this. They interviewed a 27-year old woman from Flint named Stacy Sherman who is, in her own words, “slipping through the cracks”, cracks intentionally created by ideologically driven, careless, compassionately anti-Obamacare extremist Republicans in our state legislature:
STACY SHERMAN: My name is Stacy Sherman. I am from Grand Point, Michigan, which is a suburb of Flint.
JOHN YDSTIE: Sherman is a 27-year-old graduate student in liberal studies at the University of Michigan Flint. She had a Blue Cross-Blue Shield policy that she liked that cost her just $64 a month. It will be discontinued in another month because it doesn’t meet ACA requirements, including not providing maternity care.
SHERMAN: I have spoken with Blue Cross and, at this point, they don’t know what they’re doing. They said they actually told me not to sign up for anything for a week and wait for them to decide if they were going to offer my old plan.
YDSTIE: Sherman is especially frustrated because she would likely qualify for free health insurance under Medicaid, but Michigan delayed until April its Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The catch-22 is that she doesn’t make enough money to get subsidies on the ACA exchange because it was premised on the idea that Medicaid would be expanded simultaneously.
SHERMAN: And they say, oh, you don’t make enough money for us to help you. And I’m just confused because I thought it was specifically supposed to help me so I’m slipping through the cracks and there is nothing specifically for me.
Nice work, Republicans. You did it for 94.3% of the rest of the laws you passed but you couldn’t be bothered to help our state’s most needed working residents. It not only would have cost you nothing to pass Medicaid expansion with immediate effect, it would have saved Michigan taxpayers over a half billion dollars and people like Stacy wouldn’t have to suffer through this. And what did you get for your intentionally mean-spirited act? What, a handful of tea party votes you would have gotten anyway?
If there is such as a thing as karma, Michigan Republicans are in for a world of hurt.