A majority of small business owners surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) oppose expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act as proposed by Governor Snyder in his recent budget address.
“However well intended the policy, small business owners fear that the federal government will renege on their funding commitments and stick Michigan with a great portion of the cost,” said NFIB State Director Charlie Owens. “They also believe that, in the long run, expanding entitlement programs like Medicaid create more dependency and discourage people from seeking better jobs and opportunities.”
The Affordable Care Act (often referred to as “Obamacare”) included a requirement that states expand Medicaid eligibility for all individuals and families up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allows states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion requirement. Governor Snyder has proposed going along with the expansion and setting aside projected savings from patients that are now covered by state general funds that would be covered by federal funds under the expanded program. The savings set aside would be used to cover the eventual 10 percent that Michigan would have to cover after federal funding is reduced in later years. Governor Snyder’s says that his plan provides funding for 100 percent of the Medicaid expansion until the year 2035.
When asked if Michigan should expand Medicaid as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act, 67 percent of those surveyed said NO, 22 percent said YES and 11 percent were undecided. Owens credited Governor Snyder’s approach of banking savings to offset future program costs for a response that was less negative than similar Medicaid expansion surveys conducted in other states.
“The Governor and his team deserve credit for trying to structure the expansion to anticipate and address future funding reductions by the federal government,” said Owens. “But our members are skeptical of budget assumptions that depend on the discipline of future lawmakers and governors to keep their hands off those funds when another budget shortfall looms or for some other politically popular purpose presents itself.”
The legislature is expected to take up the issue of Medicaid expansion in the coming weeks.
To view the survey question go HERE
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