Written by Caitlin Endyke
Despite our recent disappointment with Michigan governor Rick Snyder (you might have seen our discussions of the governor’s passage of the Emergency Manager Law against popular vote this Spring), we are happy to see that a motion to expand Medicaid benefits was passed in the legislature yesterday, partly due to the governor’s long-running fight in favor of the increase. The motion comes in response to Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and an estimated 470,000 Michigan citizens will gain coverage once this law goes into effect.
Overall, 30 million uninsured Americans are projected to receive access to health care under the ACA. What this means in practice is that already-strained safety net health centers, which have traditionally served the country’s most vulnerable communities, will be flooded with new patients. This is why the recently announced nonprofit navigators program from the US Department of Health and Human Services is so important. The Department announced this week that they are awarding $67 million in grants and contracts to nonprofit organizations across the country to serve as pioneers in ACA implementation in their communities. United Way, Community Action, Urban League, and Planned Parenthood centers are among the groups to receive funding.
This comes as a historic investment in the social safety net from the federal government. More than that, it is one that acknowledges the importance of nonprofit agencies from the start, integrating them into the implantation plan and allowing them to increase their operating capacities to meet the upcoming increase in demand for their services. Groups that have been funded are those who have provided care for under-served communities for decades, and these grants set them up to do big things as we move toward increasing access to affordable health care for all Americans.