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Coverage from across Michigan and the state Capitol with the Michigan Public Radio Network and Interlochen Public Radio.

Washington Approves Michigan Medicaid Plan

Michigan’s plan to expand Medicaid health coverage to more than 300 thousand low-income residents has been approved by the federal government.   

Eventually, almost half a million people in Michigan will be eligible for the coverage, instead of relying on emergency rooms for healthcare. The “Healthy Michigan” expansion is allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act and was one of the most contentious political issues in Lansing this year. It pitted many legislative Republicans against Governor Rick Snyder. A compromise was eventually approved that will require people who enroll to make co-pays for services and contribute to healthcare savings accounts.

Approval by the US Department of Health and Human Services was expected. But official action from Washington allows Michigan to move ahead with its program.

“Ensuring access to health care for hard-working Michiganders will strengthen the health of our state’s residents and our economy,” Snyder said in a statement released by his office. “With the approval of the Healthy Michigan Plan, we can move forward to bring coverage to residents, creating a healthier, more productive workforce while saving money for the state’s taxpayers and job providers.Working poor people will begin to start enrolling early in 2014, with coverage beginning in mid-March.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.