Press Release

Nurses Take a Stand for 400,000 Patients


Medicaid expansion is good for patients, good for Michigan, nurses say

LANSING -- Members of the Michigan Nurses Association along with patients, community members, labor and supporters today advocated for the 400,000 Michigan citizens who would benefit from Medicaid expansion. The action was held at the Anderson House Building in Lansing prior to the Michigan Competitiveness Committee hearing regarding the proposed waivers to the Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Health Care Act federal plan.

“Registered nurses are in a unique position to understand the everyday health care needs of Michigan citizens,” said Bette O’Connor-Rogers, RN, a home health care nurse from Grand Rapids. “We are their direct caregivers and advocates, and we know the role that Medicaid and the lack of access to health care play in their well-being and survival. We want to make sure that you, our legislators, understand that Medicaid is a lifeline for the vast majority of patients we care for.”

The Medicaid expansion program would allow Michigan to offer health insurance and mental services to approximately 400,000 veterans, senior citizens, those with disabilities, and working families who either don’t have access to or can’t afford coverage. The federal government is dubious of waivers such as HB 4714 that require co-pays and deductibles, stating that the Medicaid expansion program could be denied rather than compromised with such bill language.

“This should not be a partisan issue,” said Jeff Breslin, RN, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Yet we have seen no valid reason to delay bringing this influx of health coverage, federal money and jobs into Michigan. To be blunt, we have seen only politics obstructing progress.”

Federal funds will pay 100% of the program through 2017, decreasing to 90% by 2020. Cost savings from expanding Medicaid would be put into a fund to cover the remaining 10% needed beginning in 2020. Expanding Medicaid is supported by law enforcement officials, health care professionals, unions, CEOS of major Michigan hospital systems, numerous business and public policy associations, and Governor Snyder.

“There’s no doubt that Michigan families are being held hostage by Michigan legislators,” said John Karebian, Michigan Nurses Association Executive Director. “It’s time for the legislature to stop stalling the process with unnecessary waivers and approve Medicaid expansion. This is absolutely the right thing to do for Michigan and Michigan patients.”