In Sickness and In Health
There were a lot of votes on Thursday in both Lansing and Washington, D.C.
Locally in Lansing, the Michigan Senate wrapped up work on a budget blueprint for for fiscal year 2018. At the same time, nearly 591 miles away at the U.S. Capitol Building, Congressional lawmakers voted on a controversial health care plan that stands to make America sicker.
Talk about Trumpcare
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives just barely passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on a party line vote of 217-213. Earlier this year, they tried and failed to pass this same bill, which had a 17 percent approval rating.
WHAT THE AHCA BILL WILL DO
The new plan is extremely controversial, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million Americans will lose health care coverage. The AHCA would eliminate protections for 52 million people with pre-existing conditions (and make it legal for insurance companies to charge these people more). It would also let states decide whether “essential benefits” like maternity and mental health care are covered, reduce health care coverage for more than 150 million Americans, and cut funding to Medicaid — the program that covers low-income people.
To make matters worse (as if what’s already been mentioned isn’t bad enough), it has been estimated that if the AHCA is completely passed, there will be 1.8 million fewer jobs in 2022.
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, which has been working on its own AHCA replacement plan for weeks. Stay tuned.
Breaking Down the Budget
IN A NUTSHELL
The Michigan Senate called it a day Thursday afternoon after voting on a budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018. Each year, lawmakers spend months trying to hammer out details and allocate the necessary funds to keep the state government running.
KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD. . .
Senate Republicans passed a budget bill that did not include any additional funding to kickstart road repairs. Michiganders, who are sick and tired of crumbling roads, have been repeatedly asking for potholes to be fixed and roadways (and bridges) to be repaired.
A PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE INFRASTRUCTURE
Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D–East Lansing) has proposed using the uncommitted $542 million in budget savings to fix Michigan roads. It has been estimated that more than $2.5 billion is needed to completely repair the roads, but Republicans only expect to raise $1.2 billion by 2021. Sen. Hertel’s amendment would have helped expedite road repairs, but when it came time to vote, the Senate GOP ultimately defeated this idea by a narrow vote of 19-18.