Snyder: Senate health bill may be bad for Michigan

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Mackinac Island – Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Saturday he is still reviewing a new U.S. Senate plan to overhaul the federal health care system but is concerned by outside analyses suggesting it could be bad for Michigan.

“There’s been a lot of third-party studies that say it will be anywhere from very bad to somewhat bad for Michigan,” Snyder told The Detroit News Saturday at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. “I want to do my own research.”

Snyder said he is likely to release his own analysis Monday.

“It’s going to be factual and based on what it’s going to do to Michigan, good or bad,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate until I see the numbers.”

The Senate legislation is supported by GOP President Donald Trump and could be put up for a vote next week. But the latest attempt to repeal and replace the controversial Obama-era health care law appears to be on life support as majority Republicans struggle to secure the 50 votes needed for passage.

The so-called Graham-Cassidy proposal would end Affordable Care Act subsidies for private insurance and eliminate the Medicaid expansion for low-income Americans adopted by 31 states, including Michigan, in 2020, converting some of the funding to lump-sum payments to states. But those block grants would end in 2027 without further appropriations from Congress.

States would be required to provide “adequate and affordable health care” for patients with preexisting conditions, Graham and Cassidy have said. But states could apply for waivers that allow insurers to charge sick patients higher premiums and not cover certain benefits required under the federal health care law, such as prescription drugs and maternity care.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, wrote Snyder on Friday urging him to speak out against what he called a potentially “devastating effect” of the Senate GOP health care bill.

Levin, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, highlighted independent projections that Michigan could lose as much as $8 billion in federal funding for health care through 2026, according to an analysis by the consulting firm Avalere Health.

Levin also warned that the bill sets up a “catastrophic” funding cliff in 2027 when lump-sum federal payments to states would end if not extended by Congress, costing Michigan an estimated $140 billion over the next two decades.

Sen. John McCain , the Arizona Republican whose opposition sunk a previous health care repeal plan, announced Friday he would vote against the latest version, joining GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky as declared “no” votes.

At a political rally Friday night in Alabama, Trump said he would continue the fight to repeal the law.

“You can’t quit when you have one or two votes short,” he said.

Staff writer Melissa Nann Burke and the Associated Press contributed