- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The budget for Michigan’s community health efforts would be increased by more than 8 percent from the current fiscal year under a plan approved by a conference committee Wednesday.

The House and Senate members of the committee unanimously approved the plan for more than $1.5 billion in increased spending. The bill would raise the total community health budget to nearly $19.6 billion from $18 billion that’s been spent so far in the current fiscal year.

Much of the additional money comes from increases in federal aid to the state related to Medicaid.

Diverging from what the House originally proposed, the bill would not assume administrative savings for the Department of Health and Human Services, formed by a merger earlier this year.

There was dissension about some language in the bill despite its unanimous approval.

Democratic Rep. Brandon Dillon and Democratic Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. proposed amendments they said would ensure continued funding for family planning services at local health departments. Those amendments failed.

Republican Sen. Mike Shirkey, from Clark Lake, also failed to win several amendments that he said would have called for pilot projects and metrics within Healthy Michigan, the state’s Medicaid expansion program. Conference committee chairman Sen. Jim Marleau he is interested in the language changes, but he wants more time to review them first.

The bill joins more than a dozen other spending agreements that were reached Tuesday. Both chambers are expected to give final approval to budget bills by the end of next week, resulting in budgets finished by the end of June for the fiscal year beginning in October.

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