Michigan Nurses rally for Medicaid Expansion


Nurses from across the U.P. turned out to show their support in expanding Medicaid

The Michigan Medicaid Expansion Bill is still waiting in limbo, much to the chagrin of Governor Rick Snyder and now close to 11,000 Registered Nurses across the state.

Today, the Michigan Nurses Association took to the steps of the Old City Hall in Marquette to spread their message to the people of the Upper Peninsula, and urge Senator Casperson to get back to the capitol and expand Medicaid.

“We have so many people in the U.P. who don’t have insurance and use the ER’s as their doctor’s office, coming in at the last moment with something that could be life threatening. I’m a registered nurse at Marquette General Hospital, a wound care nurse. I see people coming in with foul smelling wounds on their legs which ultimately, because it’s so far gone, end up with an amputation. We’re here to say, ‘Please go back and vote on this issue. Get back and vote. Do the work,'” remarked Carolyn Hietamaki, a member of the Michigan Nurses Association.

More than 400,000 people would be eligible to receive Medicaid under the expansion plan including nearly 13,000 U.P. residents. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would fully fund Medicaid expansion until 2017 and then would pay 90 percent going forward. The savings from covering more uninsured people would then be put into a fund to cover the remaining 10 percent.

“It also provides for preventative care. If you start treating patients earlier, it actually helps save money because you’re not treating those conditions which are more costly to not only them, but to the healthcare systems themselves. You know this is our job. Not only do I want to take care of patients, but I want to advocate for them on a political level, as well,” noted Pam Maule, a registered nurse out of Dickinson County.

Researchers have estimated that 18,000 jobs would be added as a result, with up to $2.1 billion in new economic activity.

The Michigan Nurses Association has started an online petition where residents can show their support. You can weigh in at www.expandmimedicaidnow.org.