FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LANSING)—At a news conference conducted at the State Capitol today, the Michigan Catholic Conference stood with several health care and human service organizations to speak on behalf of those most vulnerable citizens who will be directly affected by some $600 million in proposed state budget cuts, particularly in the area of Medicaid.
“For over 40 years the Michigan Catholic Conference has dedicated its advocacy efforts to the promotion and defense of human life with preferential treatment for the poor of our society,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “Indeed, a clear indication of the moral strength of a society is the assistance it provides its most needy citizens. Unfortunately, proposals passing the Legislature do not provide such a moral statement, but rather are assembled in a fashion that will produce harmful ramifications for those who need state assistance most.”
Legislative proposals to balance the 2005–06 state budget include the following detrimental cuts to human services:
- Eliminating Medicaid eligibility for caretakers relatives and all 19 and 20 year olds,
- Reducing Medicaid provider reimbursement rates by four percent,
- Eliminating those from welfare assistance who have been receiving state dollars for more than four years,
- Reducing maximum monthly assistance allotment by $50, and
- Increasing co-pays for families with children on the MIChild plan from $5 to $10.
On June 9, the House of Representatives passed a 700-page omnibus bill that allocated spending to several state departments and included the proposals mentioned above. Last week, the state Senate passed its version of departmental budgets that also produced consequences for the state’s poor population. The administration, House and Senate leaders are now scheduled to bring their differing budget plans to conference committee in order to find compromise on a 2005–06 spending budget that is constitutionally mandated to be in place prior to October 1, 2005.
Also in attendance at today’s news conference was the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, Michigan League for Human Services, Michigan Federation for Children and Families, Michigan’s Children, Sparrow Health and Hospital System and the Michigan Osteopathic Association.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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