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Marquette RNs speak out for Medicaid expansion

Michigan Nurses Association Press Release, 7/16/13

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Originally posted: 07.08.2013

Marquette RNs speak out for Medicaid expansion - “Illness doesn’t take a vacation,” nurses remind legislators

Delay in passing Medicaid expansion means more health problems for Michigan citizens

MARQUETTE – Registered nurses from the Michigan Nurses Association shared their concerns for the health and wellbeing of Michigan citizens in front of the Old City Hall today. The nurses held signs that showed the number of uninsured in several Upper Peninsula counties that would be eligible for medical coverage once the Medicaid expansion bill passes.

“I know that Senator Casperson (R-38) can be a strong voice at the Capitol when he’s concerned about people’s cows and pets falling prey to wolves in the U.P.,” said Carolyn Hietamaki, a registered nurse from Marquette. “What worries me is that he doesn’t seem to be nearly as concerned about the almost 13,000 residents in his district that are going without any medical coverage. His vote for Medicaid expansion could change all that and give these Michigan residents access to care that could change their lives.”

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act would be paid by the federal government 100% until 2017, and then covered 90%. The savings from covering more uninsured people would be put into a fund to cover the remaining 10%.

Over 400,000 people would be eligible to receive Medicaid under the expansion plan including veterans, senior citizens, people with disabilities and working families who either don’t have access to or can’t afford coverage. Researchers have determined that 18,000 new jobs would be added as a result of expanding Medicaid and Michigan could see up to $2.1 billion in new economic activity.

“We know that Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville has decided that a work group should spend all summer thinking up new ways to complicate the Medicaid expansion bill,” said Jeff Breslin, RN, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “This is regardless of the people that are hurting every day that goes by without having medical coverage.” 

An on-line petition to show support for the Medicaid expansion is available at www.expandmimedicaidnow.org.

“I urge the Senate to not wait until September to make Medicaid expansion a reality in Michigan,” said Pam Maule, RN, who works at the Dickinson Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain. “You can make the vote happen and we can get to work getting people covered. Trust the nurses – every day we don’t make a decision is a day when a patient gets frailer. Take politics out of Medicaid expansion and do what’s right for Michigan. Expand Medicaid now!”

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The Michigan Nurses Association is the state’s largest and most effective union and professional association for registered nurses, representing nearly 11,000 RNs statewide and advocating for them and their patients.

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