Whitmer urges legislature to delay changes to Healthy Michigan Plan

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging the legislature to delay changes to the Healthy Michigan Plan.

She said if the plan is passed now, it would waste taxpayer dollars and threaten approximately 200,000 individuals who receive health coverage through the Healthy Michigan Plan.

“Health care for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders is on the line here, and we can’t rush this process while the courts decide on Medicaid work requirements,” Whitmer said. “The legislature should do the right thing here and protect Michigan taxpayers while the courts determine legality. Then, we must work together to ensure affordable coverage for Michiganders everywhere.”

A law approved before Gov. Whitmer took office makes work requirements for health coverage effective Jan. 1.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has already spent $28 million in preparing for work requirements and the state is projected to spend $40 million more in fiscal year 2020.

The $40 million would help 14,000 additional children through the Child Care and Development program.

Whitmer said if the courts block these requirements, this money will be wasted. If the courts only temporarily block them – as they have done with similar programs in other states – the state risks wasting money and creating confusion for thousands of Michigan families.

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey today released the following statement on the governor’s request to suspend the state’s work requirements for Medicaid benefits:

“Able-bodied adults who want cash assistance and subsidized healthcare coverage should obviously be expected to either work part time or at least prepare for a career in exchange for welfare benefits,” their statement said. “That is simply common sense, and it is something the Michigan taxpayers who foot the bill for these programs expect. Out of respect for those taxpayers, we are not willing to pause our state’s new welfare work requirements.

If the requirements are not delayed, beginning on Jan. 1, Healthy Michigan Plan enrollees will need to report to MDHHS each month 80 hours of work.

Four Michigan residents have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Nov. 22. The lawwsuit allges the agency violated provisions of federal law in passing the state’s waiver request.

To view Whitmer’s full message to the legislature, visit the link below.

https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIEOG/2019/12/03/file_attachments/1335612/Governor%20Whitmer%20Special%20Message%20to%20the%20Michigan%20Legislature.pdf

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