Guest Post by Natasha Robinson, Program Specialist, MPCA
Many lawmakers and organizations are expressing opinions about Medicaid expansion in Michigan and throughout the nation, but a look at the numbers will state the facts. That’s a key point to remember as advocates of and those opposing Medicaid expansion express opinions. At the end of the day, the money should talk. And in a June 28 memo to Michigan Senators from Steve Angelotti, associate director for the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency, it did.
Angelotti wrote that the Medicaid expansion would lead to significant savings in Community Mental Health (CMH) non-Medicaid services. “Most of the over $270 million State General Fund/General Purpose spent on CMH non-Medicaid is used for services to people who would be eligible for Medicaid under the expansion,” he said.
It was estimated that at least half of that funding would go from being 100 percent of state general funds to 100 percent federal in a Senate Fiscal Agency Paper. “It is now the [Senate Fiscal Agency’s] belief that the amount that could be converted would be at least $200 million,” Angelloti said. “Thus, while there would be long-term [general fund/general purpose] costs for the expansion, there would be savings that would more than offset any costs from the first day.”
So, there’s the bottom line: Savings from day one.
Medicaid expansion is free to states for 2014, 2015, and 2016, so if we don’t take it, we’re leaving free money on the table. Right now, Michigan pays 34 percent per dollar for Medicaid, while the federal government pays 66 percent per dollar. After the initial three years of the Medicaid expansion, states will only pay a maximum of 10 percent of the cost per dollar while the federal government covers 90 percent.
Plus, Medicaid expansion is good for the economy overall. A sick worker is less productive. If someone has access to health care through Medicaid, they’re more likely to receive medical attention and boost productivity. The health industry (Health Centers included) will also get a boost as patients make use of the insurance.
The end result is that expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan is a good deal, and people who speak in dollars and cents know that.
There are 49 other reasons the Medicaid expansion is good for our state and 10 steps you can use to advocate for this critical coverage expansion in Michigan!