Expand Medicaid to Save Michigan Money and Save Michigan Lives
Under the ACA, states can choose to voluntarily expand Medicaid health insurance to millions of adults who are uninsured today.
Many of these adults are employed in low-income jobs. Under the ACA, the federal government will pay 100 percent of Michigan’s expansion costs for the first three years (2014, 2015 and 2016). Eventually (starting in 2020) states will be required to pay 10 percent of the cost, with the federal government paying 90 percent thereafter.
If Michigan chooses to participate, it is estimated:
• About 450,000 uninsured Michigan adults will get health insurance and “newly enroll” in Medicaid,
• Michigan will receive about $2 billion a year from the federal government to pay for the expansion, and
• The state will save about $1 billion over a decade as the federal government’s appropriations cover Medicaid services that currently must be funded by state taxpayers. These savings have been quantified and affirmed by the Republican-led state House Fiscal Agency, the Republican-led state Senate Fiscal Agency, and multiple other studies published since last summer.
Medicaid Expansion: A Win for Employers, Taxpayers, and the Uninsured
In addition to saving money for the State of Michigan budget, the Medicaid expansion would:
• Save lives and improve the physical and mental health of Michigan citizens. Decades of research has demonstrated that regular access to health care treatment and services keeps people healthier. A healthier child becomes a healthier adult. A healthier adult is less likely to develop a serious, and expensive, medical issue.
• Access to publicly funded behavioral health services (mental health and substance use disorders) has decreased significantly in recent years. Medicaid expansion will provide federal funding to restore services and improve access throughout the state to many of the persons now denied access or not seeking treatment. Without health insurance, people with behavioral health disorders do not seek treatment, or end up in emergency room, hospital, or criminal justice settings that are more costly and less effective in addressing their behavioral health disorders.
• Protect large Michigan employers from financial penalties they will be required to pay under the ACA if their workers can’t access health insurance.
• Reduce health care costs for everyone over the long-term. Again, decades of research has demonstrated that healthier people get sick less often and cost less to treat when they need care.
• With insurance, hundreds of thousands of Michigan adults will get access to care that will keep them healthier and head of potential illness. In addition, far fewer people who have no insurance and can’t afford to pay for care will present for treatment at Michigan hospitals. Currently, Michigan hospitals end up providing more than $880 million a year in uncompensated care to patients unable to pay, costs that end up being shifted to people who have insurance, employers who pay for it for their workers, and taxpayers.
• Support and create thousands of good jobs in Michigan’s growing health care industry. Under the expansion, Michigan’s economy will receive about $30 billion in new federal funds between 2014 and 2023. These funds will help to support and create thousands of health care jobs for Michigan workers and college and university students.
• Improve access to health care services for all Michigan residents. With health care providers in the state’s health care delivery system, access to treatment and physicians will improve for all residents.
Bottom line: the Medicaid expansion will save Michigan money, save Michigan lives, and improve the health care of all of Michigan in ways that should help employers, taxpayers and people who can’t afford insurance today.