Michigan Republicans Praise Healthy Michigan, Which Could Die Under GOP Plan in Congress

Jake Neher/WDET

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof

Michigan is the largest Republican-led state in the country that chose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Today, almost 700,000 low-income people have signed up for coverage under the Healthy Michigan plan. But the GOP plan in Congress to replace Obamacare could mean every single one of those 660,000 people will lose their coverage.

How are Republicans in Lansing — many of whom crafted and approved the Healthy Michigan plan in 2013 — reacting to legislation put forth by Republicans in Washington D.C.? Detroit Today producer and reporter Jake Neher was in Lansing this week to find out.

They can’t balance their budget by shifting it to our budget,” state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) tells Neher. ”It would impact the budget we’re working on right now.”

Although he voted against the plan in 2013, Meekhof says he knows the Medicaid expansion has helped reduce costs for hospitals, and he knows it has made people healthier.

Conversely, state Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), who was one of the main architects of the the Medicaid expansion in 2013 as a member of the state House, is more open to scrapping the program and starting over again.

Whatever the feds come up with, they must give states more flexibility,” he says. “I’m excited about the opportunity to revisit it… It will become more conservative.”

Neher and Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson also hear from former state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richarville (R-Monroe), who was also instrumental in Healthy Michigan’s adoption in 2013.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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