Michigan Faces Its Own 'Shutdown' over Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

Michigan's Republican-led Senate on Tuesday rejected a Democrat-sponsored resolution seeking to end the legislative year three months early in order to allow for expanded Medicaid eligibility by January 1.
October 2, 2013

Michigan's Republican-led Senate on Tuesday rejected a Democrat-sponsored resolution seeking to end the legislative year three months early in order to allow for expanded Medicaid eligibility by January 1.

Speaking on the floor, Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, criticized Republicans who denied immediate effect to a new law that will allow the state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, meaning it cannot be implemented until three months after the last legislative meeting of the year.

Officials have said the move, which likely will delay expansion until March or April, could cost Michigan up to $7 million a day in federal funding that will be available beginning January 1.

"We warned you about the consequences of not giving the bill (immediate effect) but you didn't listen," Whitmer told her colleagues on the other side of the aisle. "Our deadline to fix this mistake is tomorrow, and the choice you've left yourself with is continuing to play the same destructive political games or join us, join the people of Michigan who want to see the government of Michigan work."

Whitmer's "sine die" resolution would have indefinitely adjourned the Senate on Wednesday. She said that Gov. Rick Snyder, who strongly pushed for the "Healthy Michigan," could call a special session allowing the legislature to keep working through the end of the year.

But Republicans likened the proposal to a form of government shutdown, a reference to partisan politics playing out at the federal level, arguing that it would keep the legislature from completing important work this fall.

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