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