Recently, I voted against the Michigan legislature's plan to expand Medicaid (HB 4714). I know there has been some confusion about why I voted the way I did, and I apologize for that. Let me take this opportunity to explain the expansion plan that was on the table, and why I could not give it my support.
The Affordable Care Act passed by the federal government provides Medicaid funding for any individual whose earnings are within 133 percent of the federal poverty line. In plain English, that means if you are a single person who makes $15, 281 or less, you would be fully covered under Medicaid by today's poverty standards.
But politicians in the Michigan House had a different idea. Their plan is to charge people for Medicaid if they make between 100 and 133 percent of federal poverty earnings. Those folks would pay 5 percent of their income now, and 7 percent after 2017. So, if you are a single person who makes $15,281, you would have to pay $764 next year and $1,069 after 2017.
You might be reading this and think to yourself, "I can't afford that. I just won't buy coverage."
Well, that is your right - but under the Affordable Care Act, you would be forced to pay a tax penalty for being uninsured.
There are many people in my district who would be forced to make this decision: pay too much for Medicaid, or pay to get the government off their backs.
I couldn't do that to the people who trust me to make good decisions on their behalf.
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, you can email me at ScottDianda@house.mi.gov or call the office at 1-888-663-4031.