Michigan Primary Care Association – the voice for the state’s 35 Health Center organizations that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care for over 600,000 Michigan residents – formally announced today that it supports the expansion of Medicaid to more low-income Michigan residents.
An estimated 450,000 additional Michigan residents who are currently uninsured and earn below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (which includes a 5 percent income disregard) would receive health care coverage should Michigan choose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, beginning January 1, 2014. Having coverage would increase these individuals’ access to affordable health care, thus improving their health and the health of our state. It would also save Michigan money by ensuring needed care is provided in the appropriate setting. All of these benefits could be realized with the federal government initially paying for 100 percent of the costs, resulting in significant General Fund savings to the state for the first three years, after which just 10 percent of the cost would eventually be shifted to Michigan.
“As the largest network of safety net providers, Michigan Health Centers are on the front lines delivering care to the most medically underserved and vulnerable populations in communities across the state. They see, on a daily basis, tremendous need for greater health care coverage in Michigan. Expanding Medicaid would ease the burden on our state, allow Health Centers to care for more people who lack a primary care provider, save money, and ultimately save more lives,” said Kim Sibilsky, Executive Director, Michigan Primary Care Association.
More than a third of the patients that Michigan Health Centers currently serve are uninsured. MPCA anticipates that of the estimated 300,000 residents who would likely enroll under expansion in the first year, Michigan Health Centers currently serve about a third of this population.
The Health Center model of care, which was established over 45 years ago, facilitates the integration of primary care medical, dental, and behavioral health services, and utilizes a team-based approach in its delivery of care to maximize the efficiency of the health care workforce.
Since the doors of Health Centers are open to everyone, regardless of insurance status or income, Health Centers are the provider of choice for individuals who rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage. The critical partnership between Health Centers and Medicaid strengthens Michigan’s health care safety net, and Michigan Health Centers stand ready to partner with the State of Michigan and other health care providers to help care for those who are newly eligible for Medicaid through the expansion of benefits.
“Expanding Medicaid to provide coverage to adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level is one more step toward ensuring all Michigan residents have access to comprehensive, accessible, and affordable health care, and improving quality of life for Michigan families,” said Sibilsky.