I’ve seen a lot of disappointing actions take place in the Legislature over the past couple years, but yesterday, I was absolutely disgusted to see my Republican colleagues simply walk away from doing their jobs for the summer without taking action on something as critical to the well-being of our state and our families as Medicaid expansion.
This vote should have been simple. It’s legislation with bipartisan support including the Governor, the business community, healthcare advocates and a host of others that would provide access to preventative healthcare for nearly half a million Michigan residents and save our state billions of dollars in the process. It’s action that’s been taken in a number of other states, including Republican controlled ones like Arizona, where it was recently championed by Tea Party favorite, Governor Jan Brewer because even she understood it was the right thing to do.
Yet, here in Michigan, even after the legislation was passed with bipartisan support in the State House, Republicans in the Senate left for their summer vacations yesterday without even taking a vote on it. It was the ultimate act of cowardice and a slap in the face to the families that would most directly benefit from these policies being enacted.
Had Governor Snyder been engaged on this issue instead of leaving the country as the legislation was struggling to find support in the Senate, it may have never come to this point, but the message he sent the Republicans last night was exactly right: Take a vote, not a vacation!
The people of Michigan deserve a vote on this legislation, not elected officials putting their political motives and the whims of the Tea Party ahead of doing the right thing.
It’s not too late to make Medicaid expansion happen in Michigan, but it very soon will be, so I hope you’ll join me in calling on the Senate Republicans to get back to the Capitol and do their jobs.
Together, we can send a very clear message to these obstructionists here in Lansing that if they don’t want to be leaders, then we’ll gladly find others who do in the next election.
Michigan Senate Democratic Leader