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A Nasty Little Piece of Legislation

Mike Shirkey

“A nasty little piece of legislation.”

That’s what Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer called the bill conservative lawmakers are pushing that would force Medicaid recipients to prove they work at least 30 hours a week to keep their benefits.

We agree.

Medicaid expansion gave nearly 700,000 Michiganders access to the basic health care they need to live happy, healthy lives: primary care visits, dental visits, eye glasses, and birth control.

But State Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) thinks that too many people are covered, so he’s introduced Senate Bill 897, which would require every Medicaid recipient to work — or else lose their coverage.

There is no reason for this requirement. As even the bill’s sponsor admits, it won’t save taxpayers a single dollar — the $20 to $30 million it would cost to administer the program would wipe out any potential savings from taking healthcare away from people who need it most.

Why, then, are Michigan lawmakers so determined to pass this bill?

Once again, Nancy has the answer. It’s not about money, as she points out, but it is about “indulging in the most destructive stereotypes about poverty, the notion that folks who receive benefits are lazy jerks who’d rather exploit the system than find a job.”

But there’s another disgusting reason conservatives like Shirkey are eager to kick people off Medicaid:

  • Women are the majority of the Medicaid enrollees.

  • Medicaid is the largest payer of reproductive health care coverage, paying for 75% of family planning services.

  • States that have expanded Medicaid, like Michigan, have experienced the greatest gains in insurance coverage among women of color ages 18–64, with 3.3 million women of color gaining coverage in those states.

This is another attempt to control women’s bodies and choices by restricting our access to care. If right-wing lawmakers like Shirkey can’t outlaw birth control, they’ll keep trying to do the next best thing: make it harder to get.

We can’t let the hateful policies of a select few impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of our friends, families and neighbors. These proposals have consequences, and they can be devastating.

There are 2 ways to fight back:

  1. Contact Sen. Mike Shirkey by email and tell him that this destruction of MI Medicaid will not be tolerated. Email him now!

  2. Share your story. Our champion legislators have said that one of the most effective ways to make your voice heard is to share your personal story. Has Medicaid helped you or a loved one get or stay healthy? Find or keep a job? Stay in school? Please consider sharing your story with us!


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