Michigan Medicaid Expansion Collaboration

Guest blog post by Dana Lawrence, Director of Communications & Grassroots Advocacy for Michigan Primary Care Association, and NACHC’s newest Regional Field Representative

The week before Christmas our Governor was reported in an online news service as saying that Medicaid expansion is dependent upon the capacity of the state’s providers to care for the newly insured. Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) immediately took advantage of this opportunity and sent a letter to Governor Snyder outlining how Michigan Health Centers stand ready to help meet the need for care. Several colleague organizations that we have been collaborating with also sent letters to the Governor. On January 4, MPCA released its formal position in support of Medicaid expansion. Both are accessible via the Jan. 4th issue of the MPCA eUpdate.

While Governor Snyder didn’t address Medicaid expansion in his State of the State address last week, a reputable media outlet reported that he will likely share his thoughts when he releases his budget proposal in February. The Governor was quoted as saying he’s researching whether there will be opportunities for Medicaid recipients to receive care in Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), or if more people will just end up going to the emergency room.

“The good answer that could help justify making that move is if we can show there’s a good path into a patient-centered medical home, which could save them in terms of better healthcare for them personally, but also helping all of society in terms of lower costs,” he said.

MPCA then sent a second letter to the Governor to highlight that over 87 percent of Michigan’s Health Centers are actively engaged in PCMH activities with the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Additionally, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan awarded PCMH designation to seven Michigan Health Centers in 2012. Our second letter also pointed out that Health Centers have embraced the PCMH model since their inception over 40 years ago, allowing them to extend services into the community to address underlying social determinant of health and to maximize physician efficiency.

MPCA is also working with a coalition of partner organizations to send a joint letter to the Governor and meet with his Administration to further discuss the benefits of expanding Medicaid in Michigan.

We have also begun to reach out to the grassroots to ask them to urge Governor Snyder and the Michigan Legislature to expand Medicaid. We’ve encouraged folks to sign a petition the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network (MICHUHCAN) is circulating, and to take action in response to a consumer alert distributed by the Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. Next steps will be asking the executive directors of Michigan Health Centers to send letters to the editors of their local papers.

As you can see, advocating for the expansion of Medicaid benefits to additional Michigan residents in need is a collaborative, statewide effort among organizations, coalitions, and individuals.

–Dana Lawrence

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