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After a tough and trying 2013 in which Michigan Republicans forced their half-baked agenda down our throats at every turn, 2014 should mark a fresh start in the Capitol, a time to start anew and try to move past the partisan politics and petty pursuits that were the hallmark of Michigan Republicans this past year.

But as much as I would relish a clean slate for the Michigan Legislature in 2014, we start today with a brutal hangover from 2013 that dwarfs any you might be experiencing from your New Year’s Eve festivities. While last night ended with a countdown, today began with a different one, as January 1, 2014, marks the start of a 90-day clock that, thanks to Michigan Republicans, is going to cost taxpayers a whopping $630 million. That’s $7 million A DAY, around $291,667 an hour, $4,861 a minute, and $81 a second. That’s YOUR money being wasted and it’s all because Tea Party Republicans wanted to prove some ill-conceived political point.

In August, months after its bipartisan passage in the House—and after months of Republican obstruction in the Senate—legislation to expand Medicaid in Michigan was finally passed. The proposal provides health care coverage for nearly 500,000 low-income Michigan residents and saves the state more than $600 million, and because of its combined benefits and significant cost SAVINGS, it had widespread support from Republican Governor Rick Snyder, business groups, hospitals, doctors and labor organizations.

But in another move of political grandstanding and a final kiss off to the people of Michigan, Michigan Republicans bent to the whim of Tea Party extremists and used a procedural move to delay the Medicaid expansion plan’s effective date from January 1, 2014, to April 1, 2014. Their stunt benefited no one and only succeeded in stalling health care for Michigan residents in need and costing our state $7 million every single day between January 1st and April 1st.

Does that sound like fiscal responsibility and good government to you? Is that how you think the elected officials you have entrusted with the well-being of the state should behave? I think not. And that’s why we have launched a new website, www.7milliondollardays.com, to draw attention to the ever-growing price tag of Michigan Republicans’ political games and enable YOU to get in touch with THEM to tell them what you think.

Regardless of your opinions on Medicaid expansion and health care, I hope that we can all agree that no political point is worth $630 million to prove. And I hope you will join me in telling legislative Republicans that this behavior is appalling, and more importantly, unacceptable.

Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer
Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Senate Democratic Leader

Originally posted to GretchenWhitmer on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 09:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Motor City Kossacks and Michigan, My Michigan.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for your continued fight for the (5+ / 0-)

    citizens of Michigan.  Keep up the good work - we're with you all the way.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 09:47:38 AM PST

  •  How many lives and how much pain? (0+ / 0-)

    It's misplaced pride, mind bending dogma, and a lack of true morality that's hurting real people.

    And Michigan is way ahead of Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming when it comes to doing what's right.

  •  How many more people will die of poverty? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VoteWisdom, peregrine kate

    Jindal has been killing off the people of New Orleans since Katrina. He refused to re-open the public hospital.  Instead, he bulldozed an entire recovered neighborhood for a huge, semi-private complex that's making it up as they go along. 8 years. No public hospital.

    It's part of his plan to make Louisiana a slave state again by withholding government services we've already paid for  through taxes.

    Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

    by nolagrl on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 10:03:03 AM PST

  •  I know that it directly factored in my decision... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kidspeak, peregrine kate

    ...to leave Michigan early in the New Year.  With my unemployment cut off and my income now at zero, I have little choice but to go to a state that took the Medicaid expansion carte blanche - New York.  Continuity of care is life or death for me.

    As a result, Michigan loses a bioscience Ph.D., something they supposedly don't have enough of.  Good job, Republicans!

  •  that's some stunt (5+ / 0-)
    delay the Medicaid expansion plan’s effective date from January 1, 2014, to April 1, 2014.
    and a very expensive stunt too, to boot.


    Thanks for spotlighting it, Rep Whitmer.

    I sure hope the people of Michigan wake this next time around the voting booth.

  •  What we forget because it is nasty (0+ / 0-)

    The delaying and obstruction and foolishness which causes a mess is not foolish - in fact it is part of a general plan which I read in http://www.patheos.com/...
    As long as there is frustration or economic pain for the PEOPLE, the balms slides to Obama. No matter what it is the attitude is he should have prevented it, or fixed it. WHen there is no money from unemployment checks in the local economy, it is Obama who takes the hit. If the unemployment figure goes UP it is not the blocking of jobs bills but Obama's lack of "leadership" or cocktail parties. The plan is to kill off the middle class's ability to function (including keeping sick ones uninsured at an increased cost to everyone (except the Corporations and people who make so much money they don't have to pay taxes). It is not odd for very smart and patient wealth to engage fools and conmen to do their dirty work. Remember the Kochs are on the board of PBS and NPR where issues used to be open for discussion. Same is true for the Econ Faculty at a major Florida University - The Koch money has approval rights on Faculty and Curriculum. So this mess is not stupidity it is a careful plan on many fronts. And it is working very very well.

  •  I happened to listen briefly to a rwnj radio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sydneyluv

    Program yesterday. The caller was complaining that her friend had a very low income but had been turned down for any subsidy or Medicaid. Where does she live?  PA, a state without Medicaid expansion of course. The radio jock did not, obviously, point out that the rethug governor was the reason for the problem, but said it was because of the confusing policies of the O admin.  So those who don't get benefits and listen to the right wing programming won't even know who to blame for their problem. Frustrating. They have their own world, and facts don't apply.

    Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

    by Leftleaner on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 12:13:18 PM PST

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