Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday became the sixth Republican governor to support the expansion of Medicaid as envisioned by President Obama’s health law.
In making the announcement, Mr. Snyder is following in the footsteps of notable “Obamacare” critics such as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who unveiled his decision on Monday.
Republican governors in Nevada, New Mexico and North Dakota have also opted to expand enrollment in line with Mr. Obama’s signature first-term achievement.
Mr. Snyder said the expansion will benefit 320,000 Michigan residents in the first year alone and save the state about $350 million through 2022 by improving access to care and reducing costly emergency room visits.
The Supreme Court in June gave states the option of expanding Medicaid to more of their residents, but conservative-minded governors and lawmakers are wary of its future costs.
The expansion will be fully funded by the federal government for three years, starting in 2014, before the federal contribution is scaled back to 90 percent by 2020.
Ms. Brewer has said she will decrease enrollment in Arizona if the federal government’s contribution dips below 80 percent.
In Michigan, Mr. Snyder’s office said their proposal “contains safeguards that ensure the program’s financial stability and protect against changes in Washington’s commitment.”
The plan calls for 50 percent of any savings from the expansion to be placed in a savings account through 2020, so it has a reserve to pay for its 10-percent contribution when the feds scale back their to 90 percent.
“While this is a federal program that we would not have necessarily created for Michigan, it is critical that the state control its implementation,” Mr. Snyder said. “Failure to go through with the expansion means that Michigan tax dollars will go to cover health care costs for other states that do take part.”