Governor Snyder announces support for Medicaid expansion

(WXYZ) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is  throwing his support behind an expansion of Medicaid and says he will be making the argument in his budget message tomorrow night.

Snyder made the announcement during a 2:00 p.m. press conference at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing Wednesday.

The move puts Michigan in line with the Affordable Care Act. It is expected to benefit about 320,000 Michigan residents during the first year alone.

The state says more than 470,000 residents will be covered by 2021, reducing the amount of Michigan's uninsured by about 46 percent.

"This makes sense for the physical and fiscal health of Michigan," said Snyder. "Expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save precious tax dollars. It also puts Michigan rather than Washington in the driver's seat in terms of implementation, which allows us to better address Michigan's specific needs."

Expanding Medicare as called for under the Affordable Care Act has been become politically controversial, with some governors saying they will reject the expansion.

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger issued the following statement in response to Snyder's position:

Speaker Bolger remains cautious and concerned on behalf of taxpayers about the expansion of Medicaid. The Speaker's goal is to determine how to provide long-term accessibility and long-term affordability for healthcare to Michigan's hard-working taxpayers. The federal government has a history of working with states to start long-term programs while providing only short-term funding, and then sticking state taxpayers with the future financial liability that program creates. House Republicans aren't raising questions as a way to object, we simply want to make sure we have the answers we need before making any decisions.

The Governor's office has placed more information about Medicaid expansion online .

Stay with 7 Action News and WXYZ.com for the latest on this developing story.

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