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Medicaid expansion for Flint residents will cost general fund $4M

April 19, 2016

The feds granted additional Medicaid coverage for Flint children up to age 21 and pregnant women in a waiver, but it’s going to cost the state some coin.

The state would have to put up $4 million in General Fund dollars as part of a total of more than $20 million to implement the Flint-specific Medicaid waiver, approved by the feds in early March.

The Medicaid funding piece was mentioned Wednesday by Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), who appeared before a Congressional panel for a hearing on Flint.

Kurt Weiss, spokesperson for the State Budget Office, said the state is working with its legislative partners on the funding.

It hasn’t been determined whether this funding would come in another mid-year supplemental for Flint or be shoved off until the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, but Weiss said the state was looking “to see what we can do this fiscal year.”

The funding wasn’t mentioned during Tuesday’s separate House and Senate subcommittee meetings on the DHHS budget for the ’17 budget.

For the Medicaid expansion program for Flint to move forward, the funding would have to be authorized. According to the Governor’s initial announcement, it would mean approximately 15,000 residents served by the city’s water system would be able to access Medicaid services.

Weiss said the state knew there would be a General Fund impact when it made its appeal to the feds, but it also knew that the bulk of the funding would be federal.

In a press release issued by Gov. Rick Snyder’s office announcing the approved waiver in early March, it stated that the DHHS and State Budget Office “will work with the state Legislature to ensure Flint residents have access to the health resources they need.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday referred comment on the Medicaid funding piece to the state.

The Governor’s office Wednesday said that since the state declared an emergency in January, there’s been $67 million in state funding committed to Flint, while $230 million in state funds have been proposed.

Lyon mentioned the Medicaid funding in a hearing Wednesday about Flint before a couple subcommittees of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He said the state is working on this “daily.”

Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha were other officials with Michigan ties to appear before the committee.

This hearing wasn’t as contentious as previous Flint-related Congressional events.

It touched on funding for Flint at the state and federal level, the quality of the drinking water in Flint as it stands now and whether Dr. Marc Edwards should be considered a “hero” or “troublemaker,” among other topics.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) chairs the committee and was present Wednesday.

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