Mich. Senate prepares to vote on Medicaid expansion

Updated: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Mich. Senate prepares to vote on Medicaid expansion story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Five days from now--next Tuesday--the Michigan Senate will vote on expanding Medicaid to offer health insurance to some 470,000 state residents--most of them from working families who hover just above the poverty line.

Tonight, in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says anything but a 'yes' vote means the people we've elected to office are more concerned with petty politics than the health and welfare of the people they represent.

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There are lots of people who don't like Obamacare. I get it. Its confusing. Its got thousands of pages that few will ever read or fully understand. It focuses on how we're going to pay instead of why everything costs so much. And as a result many of us worry about where all the money is going to come from.

But there are nearly a half-million well-intentioned people in our state who don't have health care. Usually because their employers don't offer it, and always because they can't afford it on their own.

As a result, when they get sick they wind up going to absurdly expensive hospital emergency rooms for medical care. Think about it. A single bill from a single visit to an ER is likely to be more than a month's rent.

They are bills that are most likely not going to be paid.

Why not?

Because in this country we offer the most expensive health care in the world and those individuals and families simply can't afford to pay them.  If they aren't part of an insurance plan, in a classic of upside-down logic, they usually get charged even more.

And it isn't as though all these costs just magically disappear. In one way or another, they do get paid.

But they get paid by businesses, taxpayers, and people who do have health care. The same people who see their premiums rise by double digits each and every year.

Hospitals, who provide just short of a billion dollars worth of indigent health care a year,  absorb some of it, but do their best also to pass it on to paying customers.

And did I mention that roughly 65 percent of all bankruptcies in this country are healthcare related?

So along comes the federal government to say to states, 'Tell you what...if you expand your Medicaid coverage to include those who live just above the poverty line (the ones we're talking about here) we'll pick up the cost—all of it—for the next four years. After that we'll pick up 90 percent of it.

Sounds like a no-brainer.

But here's the rub. It's part of the Affordable Care Act—the dreaded Obamacare. And in a number of states where there are Republican-dominated governments, Michigan among them, to accept medicaid expansion is to somehow endorse and give victory to President Obama himself.

A political position that does little for the 15,000 in kalamazoo county who pray they don't get sick.

It's a position that has outraged Governor Snyder—who to his credit has been out campaigning for it.

He says, matter-of-factly, whether you like Obamacare or not, it is the law of the land, and that with each day that goes by, Michigan is losing money.

His colleague,  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who faced the same problem, is one of the few Republican Governors in the country who successfully lobbied for extended medicare.

"Let me be clear," he said. "I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act. I think it is wrong for New Jersey and for America.
 
I fought against it and believe in the long run  it will not achieve what it promises. However—it is the law of the land.
 
I will make all my judgments as Governor based on what is best for New Jersey."

Gov. Snyder is essentially making the same argument. And its time for the Senate to put away its petty ideological differences, listen to what he's saying,  and get on board.

Five more days.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on October 20, 2014 17:25 GMT

IBM-SALE

ARMONK, N.Y. (AP) -- IBM is paying $1.5 billion to Globalfoundries in order to shed its costly chip division.

IBM will make payments to the chipmaker over three years, but it's taking a $4.7 billion charge in its third quarter results.

IBM reports adjusted earnings of $3.68 per share, while revenue totaled $22.4 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of $4.32 per share and revenue about a billion dollars higher.

Globalfoundries will get IBM's global commercial semiconductor technology business, including intellectual property and technologies related to IBM Microelectronics. It also gets IBM's existing semiconductor manufacturing operations and plants in East Fishkill, New York and Essex Junction, Vermont, as well as its commercial microelectronics business.

Under the agreement, Globalfoundries will become IBM's exclusive server processor semiconductor technology provider for 22 nanometer (nm), 14nm and 10nm semiconductors for the next 10 years.

CHINA'S SLOWDOWN

NEW YORK (AP) -- A research group says it expects China's economy to slow over the next decade.

The Conference Board on Monday forecast that growth in the world's No. 2 economy will slow to 4 percent per year between 2020 and 2025.

Chinese officials have rolled out stimulus measures as economic growth slows. The government is aiming for growth of 7.5 percent this year.

China's boom in the past decade, with growth peaking at about 14 percent in 2007, was driven by exports and spending on assets such as factories and apartment buildings. China's leaders now want more growth based on Chinese consumers.

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The European Central Bank has started buying securities called covered bonds as it launches its latest stimulus effort aimed at preventing the 18-country eurozone economy from sinking back into recession.

An ECB spokeswoman confirmed the purchases began Monday.

Covered bonds are investments backed by loans such as mortgages. They carry extra protections for investors, which sets them apart from other such asset-backed bonds made from bundled loans.

The ECB is buying them to encourage banks to make the underlying loans. The idea is to get more credit moving to businesses in a eurozone economy that didn't grow at all in the second quarter.

The ECB stimulus efforts also include offers of extra-cheap loans to banks, based on how much they are lending to companies.

PLATFORM SPECIALTY-ARYSTA-ACQUISITION

NEW YORK (AP) -- Platform Specialty Products Corp. said Monday that it will spend about $3.51 billion to buy rival chemical maker Arysta LifeScience Ltd. to diversify its product offerings.

Miami-based Platform makes specialty chemicals used in computers, cars and oil rigs. Arysta, which is owned by a fund backed by private equity firm Permira, makes fungicides and herbicides for crops.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

Arysta, which sells its products all around the world, had revenue of $1.5 billion in 2013. Platform has been growing its agricultural chemical business. Earlier this month, it bought agrochemical company Agriphar for about $380 million.

Shares of Platform are up 3 percent.

SEARS-RAISING MONEY

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) -- Sears is looking to raise more cash, announcing that it is planning a rights offering that may raise up to $625 million.

The company, which runs Kmart and its namesake stores, also said Monday that it struck a leasing deal with European fashion retailer Primark.

Sears Holdings Corp. said the rights offering will allow its stockholders to buy up to $625 million senior unsecured notes due 2019 and warrants to buy shares of its common stock. It anticipates up to $625 million in proceeds if the offering is fully subscribed and closes as planned. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

Earlier this month Sears said it would sell most of its stake in its Canadian unit to raise as much as $380 million.

CSX-DEAL TALKS

Canadian Pacific ends CSX deal talks

Canadian Pacific Railway says it has ended talks with U.S. counterpart CSX about a possible combination and plans no more discussions about a deal.

The railway operator did not say why it ended talks, but it did note in a brief statement that regulatory concerns appear to be a major deterrent for railroads considering combinations.

Several reports surfaced recently that CSX had rejected a merger offer from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. Both railroads declined to comment on those reports, but CSX CEO Michael Ward said last week that regulators would likely take a cautious approach to any railroad consolidation deals.

Besides Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX Corp., the other large railroads are Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian National.

CSX shares are down more than 3 percent to $32.74 in premarket trading.

AIR BAG RECALL

DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. safety regulators are warning owners of more than 4.7 million vehicles that have been recalled for air bag problems to get them repaired immediately.

The warning issued Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers vehicles from multiple manufacturers that date to 2002.

Inflators can rupture in air bags made by Takata Corp., causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are inflated in crashes. So far, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles worldwide because of the problem.

Safety advocates estimate that more than 20 million cars have the faulty inflators in the U.S. alone. They say at least four people have died from the problem.

The inflators have led to multiple recalls from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, BMW and Mitsubishi.

TOYOTA-AIR BAG RECALL

DETROIT (AP) -- Toyota is recalling 247,000 vehicles in high-humidity areas as an air bag problem that has plagued most of the auto industry continues to widen.

The recall posed Monday by U.S. safety regulators covers the 2003 to 2005 Corolla and Matrix, the 2002 to 2005 Sequoia and the 2003 to 2005 Tundra. Also included is the 2003 to 2005 Pontiac Vibe made by Toyota.

Inflators can rupture in air bags manufactured by parts supplier Takata, causing metal fragments to fly out when bags are inflated in crashes. The problem has caused serious injuries. So far, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles worldwide because of the problem.

The recall covers vehicles in South Florida, along the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa.

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