Who Will Benefit From Medicaid Expansion?

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

At 40-years-old, Nick Reeser of Lansing owns a small cleaning company and works an extra part-time job to himself afloat, but it's come at the expense of his health.

"I've had a lot of problems with getting coverage," said Reeser. "The medical plans are just extremely expensive."

Currently on a temporary county health plan, Reeser makes too much money to qualify for medicaid. But with Tuesday's Senate Vote to expand the federal health care program, Reeser and other patients at Carefree Medical and Dental are one step closer to having to worry about coverage.

"This is really important to the residents of Michigan and especially in Ingham County because we have a high percentage of low-income, but working individuals," said Michelle Lantz, of Carefree Medical and Dental.

Low-income, working people is exactly who will benefit from the expansion. Currently, adults that make up to 35 percent of the poverty level qualify for Medicaid in Michigan. Under the expansion, those who make up to 133 percent of the poverty level would be covered.

That equals roughly $15,000 a year, $30,000 a year for a four-person family.

But first, the legislation has to pass through the house because of additional amendments added after the initial vote, earlier this year. The Michigan Department of Community Health, which is in charge of monitoring the changes, expects that to happen, benefiting the entire state.

"When people don't have health insurance, they go to the emergency room and they receive care, but they can't pay for it," said Angela Minicuci, MDCH Spokesperson. "That gets shifted onto businesses and taxpayers in Michigan."

The expansion should increase doctor visits related to prevention, helping people like Nick Reeser.

"I'm sure I'm not the only one who waited until the last second, found the last dollar, to make it happen," he said.

MDCH hopes to have the measure passed through the House by next week.

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