Gov. Snyder defends Medicaid expansion to Wisconsin senator

2017-10-12 | Detroit Free Press

Oct. 12--WASHINGTON -- Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday finally responded to a series of pointed questions from a U.S. senator regarding Medicaid expansion in Michigan, defending the program and saying the senator painted an inaccurate picture of its costs.

Snyder wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., telling he chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that he "respectfully disagrees that the approach used in your letter to calculate the growth in expenditures is an accurate portrayal of this successful program."

Read more:

Senator to Gov. Snyder: Why is Michigan spending so much on Medicaid?

Obamacare replacement hits Michigan's working poor hardest

The governor defended the Healthy Michigan program -- which was authorized under the Affordable Care Act and provides covered to some 650,000 Michiganders -- saying the method the senator used to suggest a 72% increase in costs between 2014 and 2015 was misleading when expenditures for the program's services incurred in each of those years really went up by 45%.

"(T)his should be expected as enrollment ramps up in the first few years of a new program and then levels off, which is what we have experienced in Michigan," wrote Snyder. The governor also noted that total costs per member per month declined slightly over that time and that the state has seen "significant reductions -- nearly 50%" in uncompensated medical care in the state.

Snyder has long touted the benefits of Healthy Michigan, which under a federal waiver provides coverage to people up to 133% of the federal poverty level and reduces their co-pays if they maintain healthy behaviors. Johnson -- who had introduced legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare -- had called for cutting funding for states the expanded Medicaid.

Last month, Johnson sent letters to Snyder and other governors of Medicaid expansion states, asking them to justify what he called "exponential" increases in Medicaid costs.

Contact Todd Spangler at 703-854-8947 or at tspangler@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tsspangler