LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - It took most of Tuesday, but Michigan senators passed a bill to expand Medicaid.
At a press conference after the evening vote, Gov. Rick Snyder touted the vote to approve the Healthy Michigan plan as not only a win for Republicans, but also for Democrats, repeatedly calling it a bipartisan effort.
"Its about helping 470,000 Michiganders have a better life," Snyder said. "Going to the ER for health care, while we have wonderful people in the ER, is not a good solution."
The controversy surrounding the issue is that it's part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
"This was a very contentious process," Snyder said. "The Affordable Care Act has probably been one of the most divisive issues that our country has faced in the last few years."
But, he said, Medicaid expansion "isn't about the Affordable Care Act."
"This is about one element that we can control here in Michigan that can make a difference in people's lives," he said.
He also said that Michigan's expansion, called Healthy Michigan, is a modified plan that encourages personal responsibility and wellness.
"This is a big victory for bipartisanship," Lt. Gov. Brian Calley added at the press conference.
A small business representative also on hand with the governor, saying the passage of this bill will help drive down the costs of Health Insurance for small business across the State.
"One of the biggest drivers of the cost of health care today is uncompensated care," Rob Fowler, president of the Michigan Small Business Association, said. "Those who come, in this case the working poor who show up into our healthcare system, can't afford to pay for it. The way we pay for that today is we shift those costs along and it really finds its way into insurance premiums for those who pay."
Michigan Department of Community Health Director James Haveman said Medicaid expansion will help the working poor of our state.
"People who make between 8 and 12 dollars an hour right now, right now, they are using emergency rooms," he said. "They are not getting preventative health care. This is a great opportunity.
Snyder said he hopes to see the House pass the measure next week and that he will sign it once it gets to his desk.
Watch Gov. Snyder's comments on the vote via YouTube:
Bethany Murk, 48, was arrested Thursday following a drug bust in Van Buren County.
Flags were lowered to half-staff across South Africa and people in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in the country's vast rural grasslands commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday while …
The victim driver could face charges, and alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, police said.