Sept. 16—Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed a law Monday to expand eligibility of the state’s Medicaid program to hundreds of thousands of state residents.

The legislation, which Snyder signed at Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center in Dearborn, is expected ultimately to expand eligibility to 470,000 Michiganders earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. 

“Today, we’re reaching out to nearly a half-million Michiganders with a message that help is there for them and their families to lead healthier, more productive lives,” Snyder said in a release.

Snyder’s signature made Michigan the twenty-fifth state—and the largest Republican-led state—to approve an expansion of Medicaid, which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) urged as part of an effort to expand insurance coverage to about 30 million more Americans.

The Supreme Court allowed states to choose whether they would expand their Medicaid programs as part of its June 2012 decision upholding the ACA. Since then, most Republican-led states have rejected the Medicaid expansion for a variety of reasons, including uncertainty about long-term federal funding.

The federal government will initially cover 100 percent of the cost of expansion and then taper that funding to 90 percent by 2020.

Snyder led the push for the expansion over opposition from many Republicans in the state legislature.

It was unclear whether officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would approve what Snyder described as an “innovative approach” that the state took the Medicaid expansion. State lawmakers added expanded cost-sharing for newly eligible enrollees beyond what is typically allowed for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Snyder said the state’s approach “will make our recovering economy stronger, too, saving money for taxpayers and job providers.”

If CMS approves the plan, an estimated 320,000 residents are expected to be eligible in the first year, starting in late March.

Publication Date: Monday, September 16, 2013