Lansing, MI (Detroit Free Press) — A bill requiring many Medicaid recipients to work at least 80 hours a month is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder after the Senate gave final passage to the bill Thursday.
And Snyder said he’s ready to sign the bill.
“Healthy Michigan has been integral to improving the health of Michiganders. The program has saved lives, improved lifestyles and reduced overall costs for the entire health care system as well as for taxpayers,” he said in a statement. “I appreciate the strong working relationship with my legislative partners that led to this framework, which ensures the continuation and sustainability of the Healthy Michigan program.”
The bill is not necessarily about saving money for the state, said Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, the sponsor of the bill.
“This is all about finding more workers,” he said. “Every business owner I know is searching for workers from the entire spectrum of jobs from the entry level to the high skilled jobs and the richest source of that for us are the able-bodied folks that are covered under Healthy Michigan.”
The Senate, on a mostly party-line 25-11 vote, concurred in changes made to the bill in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
But Democrats were still united in their opposition.
“This legislation is a twisted joke,” said Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit. “Even with the changes made in the House, it’s still a turd, a shiny turd, but a turd nonetheless.”
Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, said without including provisions for things like child care and transportation, “We’re setting (Medicaid recipients) up to fail.”
The bill is a compromise from what was initially proposed, which included a 29-hour work week requirement and a controversial provision that would allow counties that had unemployment rates of 8.5% or more to be exempt from the work requirements. That would primarily benefit rural counties, but not urban cities such as Detroit, Flint and Saginaw that are in counties that have lower overall unemployment rates.
That provision was stripped out of the bill, in part, because it would cost the state Department of Health and Human Services too much to administer. But it also would have affected minority communities much harder than the rest of the population.
Michigan has about 2.4 million people who get health care coverage through Medicaid. A majority are elderly, disabled or children, but in 2013, the Legislature passed the Healthy Michigan law to expand Medicaid to low-income Michiganders and 680,000 people signed up. Shirkey estimated that about 350,000 of the Healthy Michigan recipients will have to comply with the 80-hours-a-month work requirement.
The movement toward requiring work for Medicaid coverage is growing across the nation with three states already requiring work for benefits and the administration of President Donald Trump reviewing requests from seven other states. The administration told Medicaid administrators earlier this year that it would support such requests and Trump signed an executive order last week asking for work requirements for recipients of federal benefits, such as food stamps and Medicaid.
Medicaid recipients would have to submit reports monthly about their compliance with the new rules, which also allow for the requirements to be met through school, vocational or job training, internships and community service. The requirement is waived for a recipient in substance abuse treatment.
Other changes made in the original bill:
– Making only the people in the Healthy Michigan program — the 680,000 of the 2.4 million people on the plan — subject to the work requirements.
– Changing the age of people who must comply from 19-64 to 19-62.
– Giving people a three-month grace period each year in case they are seasonal employees and, as Shirkey put it, “life happens.”
– Having the bill take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, instead of 2019.
– Maintaining a 48-month limit on benefits.
Among the people who would be exempt from the work requirements: pregnant women, people ages 19-20 who had been in the foster care system; disabled people and their caretakers; caretakers of a family member under the age of six; full-time students; the medically frail, and people who have been incarcerated within the last six months.
The new work rules are expected to cost the state at least $17.5 million to administer because of the extra workers needed to verify the hours worked by the recipients and upgrades to computer systems. But, according to an analysis done by the House Fiscal Agency, it’s also expected to save between $7 million and $22 million because of lower numbers of Medicaid recipients.
Snyder didn’t support the original version of the bill, but said last week that the negotiations with the Legislature were on the right track.
DETROIT, MI — Rocker and possible Michigan senatorial candidate Kid Rock shot back at critics on Monday who ridiculed him for his use of Confederate flags in his shows and blasted professional athletes who refuse to stand for the national anthem during games.
Responding to a planned protest by the National Action Network’s Detroit chapter of his six upcoming Detroit concerts, Rock, who’s real name is Robert Ritchie, said his critics, who are mainly on the left, are simply “wasting Time.”
“Pay NO attention to the garbage the extreme left is trying to create! (and by the way, f–k the extreme left and the extreme right!),” the singer wrote Monday on his official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kidrock/posts/10155502465850049). “They are trying to use the old confederate flag BS, etc. to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office.”
Rock, 46, who announced last month that he was considering running for Michigan Senate on a Republican ticket, said his detractors were throwing accusations around that he was a racist because they fear his possible run.
“Pretty funny how scared I have them all and their only agenda is to try and label people / me racist who do not agree or cower to them,” he wrote. “My track record in Detroit and Michigan speaks for itself, and I would dare anyone talking trash to put theirs up against mine. I am also a homeowner and taxpayer in the city of Detroit, so suck on that too!”
“I am the bona fide KING OF DETROIT LOVE and it makes me smile down deep that you haters know that! Your jealousy is merely a reflection of disgust for your own failures and lack of positive ideas for our city,” Rock continued.
“I am however very disappointed that none of the people, businesses or charities I have so diligently supported in Detroit have had anything to say about all these unfounded attacks from these handful of jackasses and The Detroit Free Press. So for the unforeseen future I will focus my philanthropy efforts on other organizations besides the ones I have supported in the past,” Rock went on before turning his sights on black rights activist Al Sharpton’s highly publicized issue with back taxes . “I would however employ that NAN go ahead and make up these losses since they claim to be so good for Detroit and do not want me opening the arena and generating tons of jobs and tax dollars for the city and people I LOVE… IDIOTS! ….. (Has Al Sharpton even paid his back taxes yet?)”
Lashing back at the National Action Network’s targeting of his upcoming performances in response to his criticism of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem last year, Rock didn’t mince words.
“To be clear – F–k ANYONE who takes a knee or sits during our national anthem! Pretty sure if Russell Wilson or Tom Brady were doing it they would have no problem finding a job playing for any team they wanted in the NFL! So cut the bulls**t!”
“I know I should probably not even have posted anything about these bottom feeders but I will always stand up for myself, my family, my friends, my fans, my city, my state, my country and the good in human nature,” Rock wrote before ending his online rant, “P.P.P.P.P.S. I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!”
The rocker signed his online tirade, “God bless”.
Calls for comment to Al Sharpton’s spokesperson have not yet been returned.
FLINT, MICHIGAN — The Wednesday stabbing of a police officer at a Flint, Michigan airport is being investigated as a terror attack amid claims by witnesses that the assailant screamed “allahu akbar” just prior to attack.
According to a FBI spokesperson, Amor Ftouhi, a 50-year-old citizen of Canada, entered Bishop International Airport in Flint around 9:45 a.m., dropped his bags and began ranting about people being killed in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The suspect then began screaming “allahu akbar”, Arabic for “God is great,” before witnesses say he pulled out a knife and began stabbing Officer Jeff Neville in the neck.
FBI Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios said at a news conference following the incident that Ftouhi shouted “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die” as he was being arrested.
Police confiscated a 12-inch knife with an 8-inch serrated blade covered in blood from the scene.
According to Gelios, Ftouhi was motivated by “hatred of the United States” and there is no evidence thus far to indicate that the attack was part of a larger plot.
Canadian Embassy spokesperson Christine Constantin condemned the attack in a statement shortly after the incident as a “heinous and cowardly act,” and added “our thoughts and sympathies are with the officer and his loved ones.”
Ken Brown, a witness to the attack, told The Flint Journal (http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/06/man_stabs_police_officer_in_ne.html#incart_2box_news_flint) that he was at the airport to drop off his daughter when he saw the officer covered in blood.
“The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck,” said Brown, who says he called for a towel to absorb the flowing blood.
Neville is a lieutenant with the airport’s police department and is expected to make a full recovery.
In a statement released on Twitter, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder asked Americans to “keep the attacked officer in your thoughts and prayers.”