LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - A bipartisan vote in the Michigan House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon will lead to the expansion of health coverage for hundreds of thousands people.
The House voted 75-32 to expand Medicaid to as many as 470,000 low-income Michigan residents under the Healthy Michigan plan. It was a much less contentious debate than in the Senate, which narrowly passed the bill last week.
Perhaps the most powerful supporter of the plan has been Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. The governor leaves Wednesday for a trade trip to China and Japan. He said he will sign the bill into law when he gets back.
But Snyder met briefly with reporters Tuesday to praise the bipartisan vote.
"This is good team work because it's about helping Michganders," the governor said. "Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders will have the opportunity for health care coverage. It's a situation that will also save all Michiganders money in terms of addressing an unmanaged, uncontrolled system with a managed system that emphasizes personal responsibility, wellness and managed care."
He said the state will save money on the new plan that can be used for other things.
But the legislature did not approve immediate effect of the expansion in January. It will be March before the expansion goes into effect. Snyder said the delay will costs the state hundreds of millions in federal dollars.
And the state still needs to get federal approval for the expansion, called a waiver.
"Because we didn't get immediate effect, we know people won't be able to get a card until probably sometime in March," Michigan Department of Community Health Director Jim Haveman said. "But prior to that, we'll get a waiver and then we'll get out info to people."
Haveman said people will probably be able to start signing up early in 2014, but won't actually be enrolled until March.
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