Mar 16, 2010
Senate Republicans play election politics with health care reform
Even though the state budget is facing a shortfall and Michigan residents are hurting and need help, that didn’t stop Senate Republicans from flagrantly playing election politics on the Senate floor today.
The Senate took up Senate Joint Resolution K today, a proposed constitutional amendment designed to exempt Michigan from the health insurance reform bill moving through Congress.
It would “Prohibit a Federal law or rule from compelling any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system,” and it is clearly aimed at the current health insurance reform bill being reconciled in Washington, D.C. and playing to the Republican base that has taken an extreme right turn.
The amendment required a two-thirds majority to go before the voters, and it only got 24 of the 26 required votes. Every single Republican voted for it, and two Democrats crossed over to vote yes.
Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington Woods, called the Republicans out for playing politics with federal law, and she said it was unconscionable when we are facing major problems and the Senate has not yet addressed the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Individual Market Reform package of bills.
“This joint resolution feeds into the fear-mongering that is paralyzing Congress and the Legislature here in Michigan,“ she said. “The irony of all this, as we hear the debate that says the state should be taking care of things themselves, we are not doing that.”
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, who is running for U.S. Congress in the seat vacated by “Twitter” Pete Hoekstra, who is running for Governor. At least three other Republicans are considering a run for the seat, and because he has a tough primary, he is playing to the base with this ridiculous resolution.
Senate Minority Leader Mike Prusi, D-Ishpeming, recognized that.
“I also further believe that underlying this joint resolution was a lot of cynical politics, and I find it sad that we would use such a critical issue that affects nearly every one of the people we represent here to advance in an election year; cynical politics of fear” he said.
Obviously, the Supreme Court has spoken the state’s rights issue long ago, and this could have some serious negative effects on the state.
“I think one of the further un-discussed ramifications of this may have been what it could cost the state of Michigan if we are making this statement and trying to contravene what is going on in Washington,” Prusi said. “That's the potential withholding of Medicaid payments, SCHIP payments and other health care dollars that flow from Washington to the states.”