State senators have been bombarded with billboards, e-mails and advertising from both sides of the Medicaid expansion issue for nearly three months.
And, it all comes down to a vote, perhaps as soon as today, on whether to approve a plan that would provide health care insurance coverage to 470,000 low-income Michiganders.
“I’ve been getting lots of e-mails,” said state Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, who didn’t say how he was going to vote. “They’re running about 60-40 in favor of the expansion.”
The issue has been bubbling in the Legislature since the spring when Gov. Rick Snyder backed the expansion. The House approved the plan in June, but the Senate decided to take up the matter when lawmakers return from their two-month summer break this week.
A Senate subcommittee moved the plan and two alternative proposals earlier this month.
“That’s been the objective. The Senate Majority Leader would like to see something happen this week,” said Amber McCann spokeswoman for Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.
The plan would extend Medicaid coverage to those who fall within 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Currently, most of the state’s 1.9 million Medicaid recipients are children, disabled adults and the extremely poor.
The expansion would open up the program to many low-income working Michiganders who have no health insurance but who will be required to get coverage when the Affordable Care Act takes full effect next year.
The federal government has promised to pick up 100 percent of the cost of the program through 2017 and then lower its investment to 90 percent by 2020.
The lobbying on both sides of the issue has been intense.