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Stephanie Armstrong-Helton

Community Forum on Medicaid Expansion
Start Date

Monday, April 22, 2013


St. Clair County Community Mental Health; St. Clair County Health Departments; Economic Development Alliance; and Port Huron, St. John River District and St. Joseph Mercy Hospitals Join to Highlight the Need for Medicaid Expansion

Port Huron, MI…For the first time in St. Clair County, a Community Forum on Medicaid Expansion is being scheduled to highlight the necessity for Medicaid Expansion across the state of Michigan. In the very near future, Michigan legislators will have the opportunity to make an important decision that will ultimately benefit patients, businesses, hospitals, public health, the local economy and the Michigan budget. This forum is designed to inform community residents, business leaders and legislators of the importance of Medicaid expansion on behalf of the community.

This event will feature a panel discussion including community leaders such as: Dan Casey, Executive Director, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County; Jeff Bohm, Chair, St. Clair County Board of Commissioners; Annette Mercatante, MD, MPH, Medical Health Officer, St. Clair County Health Department; Robert Camara, DO, Chief Medical Officer, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Medical Director, Peoples’ Clinic for Better Health; and Debra Johnson, Executive Director, St. Clair County Community Mental Health. In addition, executive leadership including Tom DeFauw, President & CEO, Port Huron Hospital; Frank Poma, President, St. John River District Hospital; and Rebekah Smith, RN, President & CEO, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital will be on hand as will representatives from Sanilac County Community Mental Health and other agencies.

As the state budget process moves forward, it is becoming more and more apparent that failing to accept federal support to provide health insurance for an estimated 450,000 Michigan adults – including 11,000 individuals in St. Clair and Sanilac counties alone – will have serious consequences to our local economy.

Business leaders across Michigan – including the Small Business Association of Michigan and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce – are quick to point out that Medicaid reform and expansion can help slow increasing insurance premiums paid by Michigan employers by reducing uncompensated care in Michigan hospitals, which imposes a hidden tax of about $1,000 per family through higher health insurance premiums.

The legislature’s failure to reach agreeance around reforming and expanding Medicaid will mean:

  • Michigan will forgo approximately $2.1 billion in economic activity and the creation of an estimated 18,000 new jobs generated by the additional federal dollars coming into the state’s health care system.
  • Nearly 100,000 low-income veterans and their family members living in Michigan will be unable to receive adequate health care insurance.
  • An estimated 26,000 extremely poor, childless adults without disabilities could completely lose access to health care in 2014, adding to uncompensated care problems.
  • Cuts to general fund support for mental health and substance use disorder services over the past decade will continue to result in a lack of access, reduction of services, and creation of waiting lists for persons without Medicaid.

In addition to the effects on meeting physical and mental health access needs of the residents of Michigan, failure to enact Medicaid expansion leaves employers exposed to higher “shared responsibility” payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a broader scale, according to the Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, Inc., the associated costs to employers could total $876 million to $1.3 billion each year in the 22 states that have opposed, are leaning against, or remain undecided about expanding Medicaid. For example, the decision of Texas to forgo Medicaid expansion may increase federal tax penalties on Texas employers by $299 to $448 million each year.

To help the community and state legislators better understand the importance of Medicaid expansion to our area, a Community Forum on Medicaid Expansion, will be held Wednesday, May 1, 2013, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, 2601 Electric Avenue, Port Huron, MI.

To learn more about Medicaid Expansion, visit There you will find useful information on the importance of this expansion as well as information on how to contact your legislator.

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St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron | 2601 Electric Avenue, Port Huron, Michigan 48060 | 810-985-1500