This article is published as part of a partnership between the Center for Independent Journalism, Michigan Independent and Rewire.
LANSING — On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate approved the budget for the
Michigan Department of Community Health. The vote was 20-17.
The budget cuts Medicaid payments to providers by eight percent, as
well as chops programs such as pregnancy prevention. Democrats, who are
in the minority, argued against the legislation saying it was untenable
to balance the budget on the backs of Michigan resident’s health.
“I have heard over and over again that there will be a supplemental
that will restore some of the cuts we are making. Well I say I don’t
wish to play roulette with people’s lives,” said Sen. Deb Cherry, D-
Flint. “And I believe we should take this action now so our budget can
provide basic needed services to our vulnerable citizens. I reject the
idea that only by cutting programs can we balance this budget.”
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Republican Sen. Tom George, who is a medical doctor and is a
candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in 2010, said the
Medicaid programs merely illustrates how damaged the state’s budget is.
“I wish to point out that this budget more than any other
illustrates the structural problems in our budget the state faces. It
represents a program that is open ended. From one million medicaid to
nearly 1.7 million, one in every ten to now one in every six Michigan
residents covered by medicaid. It’s not sustainable,” said the Texas
The budget was approved earlier Wednesday and now heads to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s desk for signature or veto.