News Releases

U.S. House budget strips trillions from everyday Americans while giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy

For Immediate Release
July 19, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

Michigan’s congressional delegation should reject the House budget and instead work toward a bipartisan plan that matches our state’s needs and priorities

LANSING—The U.S. House Republicans’ new budget proposal being debated today would make it harder for millions of Michigan families to make ends meet, with drastic cuts to healthcare and key assistance programs. Despite attempts to distance themselves from President Donald Trump’s horrendous budget, House Republicans are advancing a budget that would strip trillions of dollars from middle class and working families while providing tax giveaways to the very wealthy and profitable corporations. The budget also creates a special fast-track process that would allow Republicans to force through massive cuts in public investments and big tax breaks without bipartisan support.

“The House Republican budget proposal has the same fatal flaws as President Trump’s budget plan. It attacks support programs and economic opportunity for millions of struggling Michiganians to pay for huge tax cuts for the wealthy,” said Karen Holcomb-Merrill, vice president for the Michigan League for Public Policy. “It would also shift massive costs and likely bring massive cuts to the Michigan budget at a time when our state is already struggling to invest in education, transportation and other services hardworking Michigan residents rely on.”

For Michigan, the budget plan could result in devastating cuts to programs that expand economic opportunity for Michiganians, including job training, education and economic development programs in cities and rural communities. The budget would fall hardest on Michigan residents struggling in today’s economy, with cuts to programs that provide income assistance to help families get back on their feet and help nearly 1.4 million people in Michigan—including 563,753 children—afford groceries through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). As Republicans continue their efforts to sabotage healthcare access, the budget includes additional cuts to Medicaid, which helps 2.5 million people in Michigan, including more than 650,000 through the Healthy Michigan Plan.

And underlying the whole budget proposal is a set of false assumptions about economic growth to hide that the proposed tax cuts would dramatically increase deficits and shift ballooning costs to states when revenues fall short of projections.

“The people of Michigan deserve a responsible federal budget proposal from our members of Congress—one that is based on real economic conditions and addresses the real challenges faced by struggling families, not one that uses fuzzy math to justify big tax breaks,” said Holcomb-Merrill. “Instead of fast-tracking cuts that shortchange Michiganians and threaten our state budget and economy, Michigan Republican members of Congress should focus on creating a bipartisan plan that makes investments in programs that match our priorities.”

The League has been tracking the potential disastrous impact of the federal budget on Michigan residents since President Trump’s “skinny budget” came out in March. The League has asserted that the Trump budget is an attack on people living in poverty and the programs that help them provide for their families. The Trump budget would have harmful effects on food assistance, energy security and health, and other programs. While the House’s budget proposal is not an exact replica of the Trump budget, it is largely a continuation of these devastating cuts.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

House budget bills have bright spots, but still raise concerns

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

Positives include funding for “heat and eat” fix, Healthy Michigan Plan and increased per-pupil funding

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the budget bills passed out of the House of Representatives today. It can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“A major goal of the League this year has been to support ‘heat and eat’ to secure additional food assistance for hundreds of thousands of Michigan families, seniors and people with disabilities. Seeing this program funded is reassuring. The budget contains support for other valuable food programs, including ‘double-up food bucks’ in Flint, which helps residents who receive food assistance make their dollars go further when purchasing fruits and vegetables that help combat the effects of lead exposure.

The decision to continue funding the Healthy Michigan Plan is a win for all Michiganians—especially the 660,000 residents who rely on the plan for healthcare.

We are also pleased that the Wayne Residential Alternative to Prison program was supported. It provides low-risk probation violators an opportunity to avoid going to prison and instead enter a residential program in which they receive occupational training and cognitive behavioral programming. The budget not only continues this program, but adds $1.5 million to replicate it in 13 counties on the west side of the state.

One exciting update from today’s budget is the Legislature’s decision to fund the Pathways to Potential program, which places ‘success coaches’ in schools to identify barriers faced by students and their families. This important program—left out of an earlier budget—will help students access important services, and the League commends the governor for recommending its expansion. We are also pleased to see the increase in per-pupil funding and expansion of at-risk funds, but believe more should be done in order to help our students.

Though some great wins were announced today, we still have major concerns. This budget was balanced due to a surplus in the Unemployment Insurance Penalties and Interest fund. This surplus, however, is no boon to our state. On the contrary, it is due to a flawed system that wrongly accused nearly 50,000 Michiganians of fraud. This money does not belong to the state, it belongs to the honest citizens who were incorrectly assessed exorbitant fines and penalties. We must rectify this situation and make whole the people who were harmed by the State’s mistake.

Though we are cheered by elements of the budget, the whole picture must be examined. Millions of Michigan residents struggle to get by each day, and our hope is that the final budget will do better to serve them all.”

For additional League statements on the budget process, view our budget briefs.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

Changes to teacher retirement come at a high cost to students, schools

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the House and Senate passage of legislation to change the state’s school employee retirement system. It can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“These changes to the school retirement system (SB 401 and HB 4647) passed today do little to clear up the state’s fiscal picture while clouding the future of our students, teachers and schools. These bills still come with significant short-term costs and more importantly, do not resolve the broader concerns about the state’s financial obligation to school retirees in previous plans.  At the same time, the League believes that a strong educational system is the key to economic recovery in Michigan. Highly qualified, experienced teachers are the foundation of a high-quality education for children, and this new system will make it even harder for schools to attract and retain teachers and encourage longevity.

“Michigan should be doing all it can to keep top teaching talent in the state and in the classroom. Our state’s dismal national ranking in education—41st—is because of underfunding education and other harmful policies, and we clearly need to put more emphasis on improving Michigan schools. In that regard, today’s bills get failing marks.”

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

Michigan kids continue to struggle in latest national rankings for child well-being

For Immediate Release
June 13, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman

arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

Michigan ranks high-risk on almost every child indicator since 2014, finishing in bottom 10 for education

LANSING, Mich., June 13, 2017 — Michigan is lagging in nearly every aspect of child well-being, with a particularly alarming performance in education, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

With the state backsliding in three out of four education indicators measured by the Casey Foundation, Michigan is ranked as one of the highest-risk states in the country for education outcomes. This is just the latest evidence that shows we need to improve public policy to better support Michigan kids.

“Anyone who is concerned about the future of Michigan should take notice of this data, because our state’s struggles in child well-being today will be economic, employment and budgetary problems in the future,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “While the importance of early childhood education and the need to improve third-grade reading proficiency have both received more attention lately in Lansing, the state clearly needs to take a more comprehensive approach to turn around our dismal ranking.”

Overall, Michigan ranked 32nd in child well-being in the 2017 Data Book, finishing behind all other Great Lakes states: Minnesota (4th), Wisconsin (12th), Illinois (19th), Ohio (24th) and Indiana (28th).

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being and family and community — that represent what children need most to thrive. In the 2017 Data Book, Michigan received the following national rankings:

  • 31st in economic well-being. On par with the national average, 7 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds are not attending school or working.
  • 41st in education. Seventy-one percent of eighth graders are performing below proficiency in math and 71 percent of fourth graders are reading below proficiency.
  • 29th in family and community. Since 2009, the percentage of children living in high-poverty areas has remained unchanged at 17 percent.
  • 17th in health. A bright spot for Michigan is the percentage of children with health insurance. Just 3 percent of Michigan children lack coverage, an improvement on the national average of 5 percent.

“Michigan lawmakers are always talking about ways to make Michigan a more appealing state, but no one is going to want to stay or move here to raise a family when our kids don’t have an opportunity to thrive,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Minnesota is consistently one of the top states in the nation in child well-being. They don’t achieve that by cutting taxes — they achieve that by investing in education from pre-school to higher education and other state services that people need. That is what Michigan legislators should be looking to emulate.”

The KIDS COUNT Data Book illustrates that Michigan’s so-called recovery is still not reaching many working families. Nearly half a million Michigan kids — around one in five — live in poverty. Additionally, almost 700,000 Michigan kids — roughly one-third of the state’s child population — live in a family where no parent has full-time employment. While the state’s unemployment rate has improved, many parents are working multiple or seasonal jobs for meager wages and are one unexpected expense away from a financial crisis.

Child poverty as a whole — as well as the 17 percent of kids living in high-poverty neighborhoods — are of concern for the state, and Michigan legislators should pursue a two-generation policy strategy that would better help kids and their parents thrive. This approach should include introducing affordable child care, equitable workplace policies, higher wages and investment in adult education.

“The U.S. continues to have one of the highest child poverty rates among all developed countries,” said Laura Speer, associate director of policy reform and advocacy for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “This unfairly burdens our young people and the nation, costing an estimated $500 billion a year in reduced economic opportunities and increased health and criminal justice-related costs.”

To fix these problems in Michigan, the League recommends: improving access and quality of prenatal care in Michigan; ensuring access to affordable, quality child care by raising eligibility levels for state child care subsidies and reforming the current system; and restoring the state Earned Income Tax Credit to 20 percent of the federal credit.

Supplementing the Casey Foundation’s look at nationwide data through the 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book is the annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book from the Michigan League for Public Policy. The Michigan Data Book has state-level and county-by-county data and rankings. The two reports work in concert to annually illustrate where child well-being stands in America, in Michigan and in each county.

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book is available at www.aecf.org/resources/2017-kids-count-data-book. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/databook, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.

About the Kids Count in Michigan Project
The Kids Count in Michigan project is part of a broad national effort to improve conditions for children and their families. Funding for the project is provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Frey Foundation, Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Battle Creek Community Foundation and the Fetzer Institute.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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Department of Health and Human Services budget has bright spots, but misses many opportunities

For Immediate Release
June 8, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

Positives include funding for “heat and eat” fix, Healthy Michigan Plan and healthy food incentives for Flint

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services budget passed out of conference committee today. It can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Health and human services have always been a focus for the League, especially in the context of the major cuts to federal programs that the president has proposed. Using our human services budget priorities as a scorecard, today’s legislation is mostly a draw.

“One of our focal points since last year’s budget has been fixing ‘heat and eat’ to secure additional food assistance for hundreds of thousands of Michigan families, seniors and people with disabilities, bringing in more federal dollars in the process, so we are very happy to see that continue on in this budget. Another positive in today’s budget is funding for double-up food bucks in Flint, which enables residents who receive food assistance to stretch their dollars further when purchasing healthy fruits and vegetables that help combat the effects of lead exposure. Another big win is that the state continued to fund the Healthy Michigan Plan that provides healthcare for 660,000 residents—though the shadow of the federal American Health Care Act that will eliminate it still looms.

“We are disappointed that there was no funding included today for the expansion of the Pathways to Potential program that places ‘success coaches’ in schools to identify barriers faced by students and their families and make appropriate referrals for needed services. The program is currently in 259 schools in 34 counties and has been proven to be effective, and we had hoped the Legislature would follow the governor’s recommendation to expand it to other parts of the state. There was also no increase for the clothing allowance for children in families that receive cash assistance, which is another area we emphasize each year and another area that we hoped would see an increase per the governor’s request.

“Pieces of this budget still reflect some of the growing sentiment in Washington that ‘poverty is a state of mind’ and health and human services for people who are struggling are the ideal places to cut. Our various reports and analyses show that many people in Michigan are working but still living in poverty and are one unexpected expense away from financial disaster. They are doing their best to get by but still need this support to survive. We will keep fighting to support all people in Michigan, especially our most physically and economically vulnerable residents.”

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

U.S. House GOP health bill would end the Healthy Michigan Plan and leave 660,000 uninsured

For Immediate Release
June 7, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

New reports reaffirm similar approach under consideration in Senate would shift massive costs to Michigan

LANSING—The Healthy Michigan Plan would effectively end and the 660,000 people who depend on it would lose coverage under the health bill passed by the U.S. House to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new report from the nonpartisan, Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. An additional report released by the Center today shows that delaying or phasing in the House bill’s massive cost shifts to states, as the Senate is reportedly considering, would have no effect on the ultimate outcome.

Michigan is one of eight states that have laws that effectively require their Medicaid expansions to end if federal financial support for the expansion falls. In these states, Medicaid expansion—and the Healthy Michigan Plan—would thus end in 2020 under the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA).

The House bill would shift $582.5 million in costs to Michigan, which is more than the state spends on child welfare ($445M GF), early childhood programs ($258M SAF) and at-risk programs ($379M SAF) respectively. The $582.5 million strain on the state budget also is approximately more General Fund money than the state spends combined on the departments of Talent and Economic Development, Education, Military and Veterans Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development, Environmental Quality, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Natural Resources, Civil Rights, Transportation and the Attorney General’s office.

Michigan would almost certainly be unable to absorb these additional costs, especially as more state General Fund money starts going to roads in the years ahead. As a result, Michigan would likely be forced to end its expansion and eliminate the Healthy Michigan Plan, leaving 660,000 adults with low incomes who have gained Medicaid coverage under the expansion at severe risk of becoming uninsured.

“Yesterday, I sat alongside the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director and Budget Director, representatives from Michigan’s businesses, and doctors and hospital officials to talk about the success of the Healthy Michigan Plan and the importance of protecting it,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Yet here we are today with a new independent report showing how the U.S. House’s American Health Care Act will decimate the program and leave more than half a million state residents without coverage. Our state budget can’t afford these costs, and Healthy Michigan enrollees can’t afford to lose their coverage.”

As the U.S. Senate considers changes to the House GOP health bill, some have claimed that phasing the repeal out more slowly or delaying it by two years would avoid these harms. But neither of these proposals change the ultimate outcome: a huge cost-shift to states ending the Medicaid expansion and causing millions to lose coverage.

Other proponents of the House bill have suggested that people who would lose expansion coverage could instead purchase private coverage on their own using the House bill’s tax credits. That is false, the new reports show. Adults with low incomes would face unaffordable premiums if the expansion were repealed, even after taking the House bill’s tax credits into account. For example, premiums after tax credits for Michiganians in poverty would equal a whopping 48 percent of income for 60-year-olds at the federal poverty line. And that’s without taking into account provisions in the House bill that would let insurers go back to charging people with pre-existing conditions exorbitant premiums, stop covering critical services like mental health services and substance use treatment and imposing annual and lifetime limits.

“The American Health Care Act is a bad bill that will be disastrous for the Healthy Michigan Plan and the historic gains in health coverage and access to care that we have achieved under Medicaid expansion, and tinkering with it won’t solve its fundamental flaws,” Jacobs said. “Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters have been champions for Medicaid expansion and the rest of the Senate should follow suit and scrap the House bill and focus on bipartisan efforts to strengthen, not dramatically weaken, our healthcare system.”

The League is part of the Protect MI Care coalition, an organization of consumer, healthcare and insurer groups in the state who are working together to protect the ACA, the Healthy Michigan Plan and the care they provide. More information on the coalition is available at www.protectmicare.com.

To learn more, please visit:

House Republican Health Bill Would Effectively End ACA Medicaid Expansion
http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/house-republican-health-bill-would-effectively-end-aca-medicaid-expansion

People Losing Medicaid Under House Republican Bill Would Face High Barriers to Coverage
http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/people-losing-medicaid-under-house-republican-bill-would-face-high-barriers-to

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

President Trump’s budget attacks anti-poverty programs, not poverty

For Immediate Release
May 23, 2017

Contact:
Karen Holcomb-Merrill
karenhm@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

Budget includes billions in appalling cuts to Medicaid, food assistance and other vital programs

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s budget proposal released today. This statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Time and again, our work shows that millions of people in Michigan are already walking a precarious tightrope of economic security and our state and federal governments should be doing more to help them. Yet today, President Trump’s proposed budget cuts a two-trillion dollar hole over 10 years in the safety net designed to catch them if they fall. The president’s budget calls for $600 billion in cuts to Medicaid over ten years, on top of massive cuts proposed in the House-passed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, severe changes to federal food assistance and significant reductions in services for people with disabilities and more.”

“The Trump budget is anti-poor people, not anti-poverty, as his proposals attack government support services that are working for Michigan families. At the same time, the President is proposing massive tax cuts largely for the wealthy and corporations that would likely cost several trillion dollars over the coming decade, if honestly measured. The budget relies on unrealistic economic assumptions and gimmicks to hide that the President’s tax cuts would dramatically increase deficits and debts.”

“Trump’s budget largely hurts the people who are struggling economically and have felt that their government hasn’t been listening to them or responsive to their needs. Medicaid and food assistance are just as vital in rural areas as they are in our cities, and these cuts will be felt just as badly by those residents.”

“As Congress prepares to advance its own budget plans, our delegation must not simply oppose the Trump budget. They must oppose any Congressional budget plan that follows the same architecture. They must oppose cuts to assistance that helps millions in Michigan achieve a basic living standard. They must oppose cuts to investments in long-run economic growth and basic public services. And, they must oppose massive tax cuts to the nation’s wealthiest.”

The League has been speaking out on potential federal budget cuts since President Trump’s “skinny budget” in March and has warned against changes to how states receive federal food assistance funding. The League also continues to advocate for the Healthy Michigan Plan and Medicaid expansion, and oppose the American Health Care Act and other potential funding changes to Medicaid.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

Lawmakers should abandon tax cut, uphold strategic investments in light of downward revenue estimates

For Immediate Release
May 17, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

State budget funding for child care and heating assistance will bring in vital federal dollars

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the revenue projections being announced at today’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. It can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Today’s downward revenue estimates should tell Michigan lawmakers two things. One, given the fluctuations in state revenues, it was and continues to be foolhardy to consider tax cuts that would further jeopardize state services. The state’s General Fund has not kept pace with inflation, and Michigan now has the second highest reliance in the nation on federal funds for basic services. Deep cuts sure to come in the federal budget—along with existing demands on state general funds—could put Michigan in a very precarious fiscal position and threaten the state’s ability to support the services and infrastructure needed to keep the economy growing. Lawmakers should be focused on creating a tax system that is fair and able to withstand economic downturns or swings in federal policy. We simply can’t afford to cut taxes in a time of unpredictable revenues.

“Two, in the context of lower than expected revenues, legislators must be very strategic when allocating state revenues to make sure that state spending priorities match the needs of Michigan’s residents. This includes investing funds in the current state budget in child care and heating assistance to leverage hundreds of millions in federal dollars to support working parents and put food on the tables of kids, seniors and people with disabilities through ‘heat and eat.’”

For more information, see the League’s budget briefs on child care and education and “heat and eat” and human services.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

Republican health bill would hit rural Michiganians hard

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

U.S. Senate should oppose any bill that ends the Healthy Michigan Plan, caps or cuts Medicaid or makes coverage less affordable

LANSING—The U.S. House Republican health bill would be particularly harmful to Michigan’s rural communities, according to a new report released today by the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. With debate now underway in the Senate, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters–longstanding champions for affordable healthcare—can work with their colleagues to prevent the bill’s harmful cuts and other changes from ultimately becoming law. The Michigan League for Public Policy strongly opposed the American Health Care Act and continues to work with state and national partners to advocate for the protection of the Affordable Care Act and the Healthy Michigan Plan and the affordable, quality healthcare they provide for millions of state residents.

“Despite the economic and health struggles of our state’s rural residents, nearly all of Michigan’s congressional delegation that represents rural communities surprisingly voted against the interests and needs of their constituents with their passage of the American Health Care Act,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan are vital lifelines to quality healthcare for rural Michiganians, and we hope the Senate will stand up for these programs and reject the House bill that would decimate coverage for these residents and people around the state.”

The House bill would effectively end the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion, known as the Healthy Michigan Plan in Michigan, under which 113,800 rural Michiganians have gained coverage. This is the fourth-highest number of rural enrollees of all states that have expanded Medicaid. Roughly 1 in 5 Michigan residents who have gained coverage under the expansion live in rural communities. The Healthy Michigan Plan has also expanded access to substance use disorder treatment at a time when many of Michigan’s rural communities have been ravaged by the opioid crisis. The League has been a strong supporter of the Healthy Michigan Plan in the state budget process as well as the federal healthcare debate.

The House-passed bill would roll back progress in coverage and harm rural providers by effectively ending the Medicaid expansion. Beginning in 2020, states would receive only the regular federal Medicaid matching rate for any new enrollees under the expansion instead of the permanent expansion matching rate of 90 percent. This would force states to pay 2.8 to 5 times more than under current law for each new enrollee. In seven states including Michigan, these higher costs would automatically trigger immediate or eventual termination of the Medicaid expansion, with no action by state policymakers necessary. Laws in these states either explicitly require the expansion to end if the federal matching rate falls or require the state to prevent an increase in state Medicaid costs.

The bill also would dramatically cut and radically restructure the entire Medicaid program through a per capita cap or block grant (see League fact sheet), putting coverage for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children at risk across the state. In combination with ending expansion, the bill’s per capita cap would shift $17 billion in costs to Michigan over the next decade. Medicaid plays a particularly important role in Michigan’s rural communities, and these cuts would threaten access to care for rural residents, including by harming Michigan’s rural hospitals.

In addition, the bill would replace the ACA’s premium tax credit and cost-sharing protections with an inadequate tax credit that would make coverage unaffordable for many of Michigan’s rural residents. Nearly 1 in 4 Michiganians who buy their coverage in the ACA marketplace are from rural communities. The House bill would raise total costs for State marketplace consumers by $1,519, on average.

“The healthcare bill Congress sent to the Senate reduces coverage and raises costs for rural and urban residents alike, and we need to keep fighting to make sure this bill or any similar proposals stop dead in their tracks,” Jacobs said. “To that end, we will keep working to remind federal and state lawmakers of the human impact of their decisions on healthcare.”

The House bill also removes key protections that the ACA put in place nationwide to let people with pre-existing conditions get affordable coverage that provides the health services they need. These protections are especially critical to people in rural communities, who are more likely to have disabilities or die as a result of a chronic disease.

To learn more about this report, please visit: http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/house-passed-bill-would-devastate-health-care-in-rural-america.

The League is part of the Protect MI Care coalition, an organization of consumer, healthcare and insurer groups in the state who are working together to protect the ACA, the Healthy Michigan Plan and the care they provide. More information on the coalition is available at www.protectmicare.com.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

Lawmakers pass healthcare bill that will hurt millions of Michigan residents

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2017

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

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the U.S. House Republicans’ passage of legislation today to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The statement may be attributed to League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Today, congressional Republicans passed a healthcare plan that shows they don’t really care about health, and to add insult to injury, they did so with jubilation, not reservation. Instead of helping people, lawmakers voted today to eliminate insurance coverage for 24 million Americans, including the 650,000 Michigan residents who are covered through the Healthy Michigan Plan. They voted to end fair and affordable coverage for millions of people with pre-existing conditions, cut $800 billion in Medicaid funding, and eliminate nationwide bans on annual and lifetime limits.

“It’s particularly disheartening that it took making this bill worse to actually get it passed, but this fight is far from over—it’s just moving to a new venue. The League and our partners in Michigan and around the country will keep doing everything we can to protect healthcare coverage for residents who are struggling physically, mentally or financially. We hope that the Senate will be deliberative and put the real needs of Americans above the political rancor that has unfortunately dominated this debate.”

The League has been a strong advocate for the Affordable Care Act and the related Healthy Michigan Plan, and have opposed the U.S. House’s attempts to repeal it and change how Medicaid is funded. The League is also part of the Protect MI Care coalition, an organization of consumer, healthcare and insurer groups. More information is available at www.protectmicare.com.

Recent League Efforts on Healthcare:

March 16, 2017, Press Statement on AHCA: Major flaws exposed in U.S. House Republicans’ healthcare plan

Budget Brief: Protect Healthcare for 650,000 Michiganians

Fact Sheet: Medicaid Block Grants and Per Capita Caps Are Bad for Michigan’s Health

Fact Sheet: 10 Reasons the Affordable Care Act is Good for Michigan

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.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.

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