League testifies against bill to strip Medicaid from struggling Michiganders, shares real story

For Immediate Release
May 2, 2018

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@milhs.org
517-487-5436

House Appropriations Committee takes up SB 897 but delays vote

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Michigan House Appropriations Committee’s hearing today on Senate Bill 897 that would take vital coverage away from Medicaid beneficiaries who don’t meet rigid work requirements. The committee could vote on the legislation as early as next week. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs, who also provided testimony at today’s hearing.

“As I sat before nearly 30 lawmakers today, I offered something that should resonate with every single one of them on why taking away Medicaid from people who are unable to work is a bad idea. The League and our partners have appealed to legislators’ brains, their pocketbooks—or the state’s—and their hearts, sharing myriad data and evidence that shows Medicaid is a work support, analyses that it will come with significant costs, and real stories from real people on how it will hurt struggling residents. The House Fiscal Agency analysis shows the bill would cause 105,000 struggling Michiganders to lose coverage—and that’s not something to celebrate. This bill will increase uncompensated care costs and the program will cost the state $20-$30 million annually. And it will hurt a majority of Michiganders that it claims it will help. The House seems to be following the Senate’s lead in rushing through this bill before truly understanding its consequences, but without a vote today, we still have time to change their minds.”

As part of her testimony today, Jacobs shared a personal story from Karen Schultz Tarnopol, an Oakland County resident who attested firsthand to the value of Medicaid and the threat of this bill. An excerpt of Karen’s story is included below.

“I was a single parent of two kids with a very good job…In 2008, when the market crashed…I lost my job with no notice, severance, insurance, etc. I spent many years trying to reestablish myself and had many jobs along the way. Because my work wasn’t consistent and/or for the same employer all the time, it would have been an arduous task to report a running 29-hour a week schedule to DHS [now the Department of Health and Human Services].

“While my kids and I were on Medicaid, something I signed up for reluctantly due to stupid pride, my son had open heart surgery and I had breast cancer. Medicaid paid every dime for both of us. As a mother, I was able to concentrate on caring for my sick son, and when I was undergoing treatment, I was not financially burdened with the medical bills and was able to focus on getting well and caring for my kids. Do not underestimate the significance of having good health care. If we didn’t have this insurance our story would have been significantly altered. Being on Medicaid and food stamps is not something I wanted to be on, and we are no longer on either program, but it made all the difference in the world when I needed it.”

The following groups opposed Senate Bill 897 in committee today: Center for Civil Justice; Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services; National Association of Social Workers – Michigan Chapter; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Lung Association; Washtenaw Health Plan; The Arc Michigan; Michigan Health & Hospital Association; American Heart Association; Ascension Health; Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; United Way for Southeastern Michigan; Elder Law & Disability Rights Section – State Bar of Michigan; ACCESS; American Diabetes Association; McLaren Health Plan; Henry Ford Health System; Michigan Community Action; Michigan Catholic Conference; Trinity Healthy; Planned Parenthood.

Background:

From the Michigan League for Public Policy:

Blog: Is the Legislature even listening? (Includes excerpts of five personal stories.)

Fact Sheet: SB 897: Medicaid work requirements

Report: Medicaid Work Requirements: Why Making People Work Doesn’t Work

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Report: Michigan Medicaid Proposal Would Lead to Large Coverage Losses, Harm Low-Income Workers

Blog: Michigan’s Medicaid Proposal Would Harm Low-Income Workers — And Can’t Be Fixed

From the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan:

Column: Medicaid work bill could hurt, not help, people who want to work

Column: Beware of unintended consequences of Michigan Medicaid work demand

Fact Sheet: Proposed Work Requirements for Medicaid in Michigan

From ACCESS and the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition:

Column: Protect Healthy Michigan as is

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.milhs.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.