Jackson Health Care Providers Say New Medicaid Law Will Boost Ec - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Jackson Health Care Providers Say New Medicaid Law Will Boost Economy

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) - The new law expanding Medicaid coverage for low-income Michigan residents will save lives and boost the local economy, that's according to CEO of Center For Family Health Molly Kaser.

"They are going to be able to get their concerns taken care of instead of waiting and waiting and dying earlier," Kaser said.

The Center For Family Health gets Federal funds so patients aren't turned away because they can't pay. But Kaser says when an insured patient is diagnosed with a chronic illness or disease like cancer, which requires treatment from specialists outside the facility, figuring out how he or she will cover their medical expenses takes up precious time. And in many cases, results in a delay of the person's treatment.

"There is data that indicates, or clearly shows, that women who are unisured have a higher mortality rate or death rate from breast cancer," Kaser said. "And we know that is because they delay getting diagnosed and treated."

Kaser says the current Medicaid eligibility requirements are complicated. A person with very low income or even no income is not guaranteed coverage. As the law is today, approval for coverage depends on an individual's income level, assets like cars and other belongings, as well as medical condition. But that will change under the new law, dictated by the Affordable Care Act, which extends Medicaid coverage to residents who meet the income requirement, set higher than it currently is: at or below 133 percent of the Federal poverty level.

It's the economic impact of the law which Kaser says will touch all residents, not just those who need health care coverage.

"We put a lot of money into the local economy and the reimbursement that we receive, that will pay for jobs, for goods that we buy locally," Kaser said the law will have a trickle-down effect.

She estimates that 6,500 uninsured and low-income patients of the Center will be Medicaid eligible under the new law. And will consequently bring in approximately $2 million of revenue or an additional 10 percent for the facility. Kaser says that means other local providers, such as specialists, will get paid for treating this population, too.

The Michigan House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the law when it returns to session after Labor Day. Governor Snyder who has stumped for lawmakers to support expanding Medicaid coverage throughout Michigan, has said he will sign it into law right away.

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