Snyder requests federal medical aid for Flint

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Gov. Rick Snyder is requesting an unknown amount of federal medical aid to help Flint residents under 21 with potential health problems from the city’s lead-contaminated water.

The Snyder administration said Tuesday it plans to direct its request to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Among other services, the Republican governor wants the Democratic Obama administration to finance expanded eligibility — regardless of income level — for Flint residents up to age 21 in Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor.

Michigan already participates in Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, but this request would expand Medicaid coverage for residents who already have other forms of insurance to ensure that comprehensive benefits are available to children who may have been exposed to lead in the water, the Snyder administration said.

The governor’s office wants more “community-based resources,” so all Flint area children receive comprehensive medical treatment — physical, behavioral and long-term care treatment — even if their family doesn’t have insurance coverage.

He also seeks a federal Medicaid match for lead-abatement activities in affected areas. Lead-abatement programs would help minimize or prevent long-term harm from lead exposure, according to the Snyder administration.

The federal aid is intended to supplement existing state-supported health and well-being programs for Flint and other residents in Michigan, Snyder officials said.