Medicaid expansion in Michigan: A right or a privilege?

There are approximately 420,000 Michiganders that DO NOT have health insurance. Should they? Is healthcare a right or a privilege? Medicaid currently covers about 1.9 million Michiganders. To expand Medicaid to the uninsured, the federal government has agreed to pay 100% of the costs through 2017 and then 90% by 2020. Can we afford not to do this?

On June 13, the Michigan House passed the Medicaid Expansion Bill 4714 with 48 House Democrats and 8 others assuming the position that healthcare is a right. Maybe they remembered Founding Father Gouverneur Morris who in 1787 had a mental picture of a perfect country when he wrote:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

When Mr. Morris included that part about promoting the general welfare, is there is an inherent understanding that promoting welfare (i.e. the health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group) can be accomplished by first assuring that everyone has health insurance and second that they are provided access to health care providers?

Our governor sure does think so as he returned home early from a trip to Israel in hopes that he could convince the Senate to “take a vote, not a vacation,” which they refused to do. On June 20, the Republican-led Senate refused to bring up for a vote a Michigan-tailored plan to expand Medicaid under federal health care reform. Just before 5 p.m. that day, senators adjourned for summer break.

“Page” me and let me know your thoughts.

Dr. Reginald Eadie
DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital

Please note that the views expressed by Dr. Eadie through are that of the individual only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Detroit Medical Center.

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