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LANSING, Mich. (AP) â¿¿ Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday backed the extension of Medicaid coverage to 470,000 residents under the Obama administration's health care overhaul, saying it is the right thing to do despite resistance from his own party that controls the Legislature.
He is the sixth GOP governor to propose expanding the taxpayer-funded health insurance program, joining the leaders of Ohio, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and North Dakota. Snyder has criticized the federal health care law in the past but to a lesser extent than other Republican governors.
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed Medicaid expansion last year in its ruling upholding the constitutionality of the federal health care law. Under the law, states can increase the eligibility under their Medicaid programs to people whose incomes equal 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Extending Medicaid to nearly half of Michigan's uninsured is a "win for all," Snyder told a crowd of happy doctors, nurses, insurance officials and other supporters gathered at a Lansing hospital not far from the Capitol.
Asked about Republicans' opposition to President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, he said he looked at the numbers and concluded that boosting the number of Medicaid participants would save the state money and make people better off.
"This improves lives at an individual level, where these people can hopefully have a great opportunity to have employment," Snyder said. "If you have health issues, it can make it difficult to have job or make it difficult to hold a job you could otherwise hold. It's a tremendous gain at the individual and family level. If you look at it from a societal level or governmental level, it is an opportunity to save costs because ... we're paying for this in some fashion through hidden charges or other pieces of the equation."