800K now enrolled in Healthy Michigan Plan, gov raises concerns about ACA being overturned

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

    Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program, is now providing health care coverage to more than 800,000 low-income residents for the first time. 

    Michigan expanded Medicaid as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, a GOP-backed suit that seeks to dismantle the President Obama-era law is before the Supreme Court. 

    Whitmer warned that “it’s more important than ever that we protect Healthy Michigan and ensure care for families across the state. Repealing the law would put Michiganders’ lives at risk and hurt our economy.”

    She said she “will continue working with everyone who wants to protect and expand health care for Michiganders.”  

    The number of Healthy Michigan Plan enrollees has skyrocketed from just under 682,000 in late March to more than 800,794 in six months during the pandemic. During that period, the state was able to qualify for additional Medicaid funding from the federal government and DHHS has worked to streamline the application process to ensure eligibility.  

    Federal court chucks Michigan’s Medicaid work requirements 

    The GOP-controlled Michigan Legislature had adopted work requirements for Medicaid, but a federal court in March ruled they were unlawful, thus allowing an estimated 80,000 Michiganders to keep coverage. 

    Healthy Michigan Plan coverage is available to Michigan residents ages 19 to 64 years old who have an income at or below $16,971 annually for a single person and meet other eligibility requirements, such as not qualifying for other Medicaid programs.

    The Healthy Michigan Plan more than doubled primary care usage, reduced enrollees’ reliance on the emergency room by 58%, cut uncompensated care by nearly 50%, and added $2.3 billion to our state’s economy, according to 2017 University of Michigan research. 

    For information on enrollment, visit www.michigan.gov/HealthyMiPlan.

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.