Nearly half a million more Michigan residents will now be eligible for health insurance following Tuesday night's approval by the Michigan Senate to expand Medicaid.
The State Senate passed the Medicaid expansion bill by a 20-18 vote. But not before the bill failed to pass the first time around earlier in the day.
The first vote was 19-18 in favor of the bill, but failed because it needed 20 votes to pass. Republican Sen.Patrick Colbeck opposed the bill, but refused to vote against it because that would have created a 19-19 tie, allowing Lt. Governor Brian Calley to cast the tie-breaking vote.
The expansion bill will make roughly 470,000 people eligible for Medicaid on top of the nearly 2 million already signed up. The federal government will cover 100% of the expansion costs to start. That will drop to 90% by 2020.
Following the vote, Gov. Rick Snyder celebrated what he called a bi-partisan success.
"It's about healthy Michigan and healthy Michigan is an opportunity for all of Michigan to benefit," he said.
Following the first failed vote, Senate Republicans regrouped and added an amendment put forth by Sen. Tom Casperson.
Casperson initially rejected the bill but voted in favor the second time around. He was the one voted need to pass the bill.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said the amendment was aimed at limiting the amount hospitals could charge uninsured patients.
"It's tough when you're digging deep and there's some philosophical beliefs here and we've got 26 members in the Republican caucus and that's a big spectrum of beliefs," Richardville said. "Everyone was there doing what they thought was right."
Although the bill passed the Senate failed to secure the necessary votes to have it go into immediate effect which means it'll now be another 90 days after the start of the new year before the law can be implemented.
Gov. Snyder said he hopes to have that issue readdressed by lawmakers.
"It's something we can talk to the federal government about and I hope we can get a positive response," he said.
The House will have to approve the changes made by the Senate before the hill can be signed into law, which is expected to happen sometime early next week.