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Mich. Senate rejects partnering on health exchange
LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - State senators have gone home for a two week spring break, leaving town without voting on a bill that would accept $30 million from the federal government to set up a health care exchange.
The exchange, which is part of implementing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, still goes into effect, but now will be run entirely by the feds.
Governor Rick Snyder had hoped legislators would approve the appropriations bill and set up a federal and state partnership.
The House had already approved the bill but the Senate never took it up.
"I think it's discouraging, our hope was we'd have Michigan more involved in shaping how the health marketplace would look in Michigan, so from that standpoint it's discouraging," says Kurt Weiss, spokesperson for the Governor.
The Governor’s office says there will also be a financial penalty. It says the state will still have to spend more than $8 million of its own money to upgrade technology to be compatible with the federal exchange.
"The governor says that, I'm not sure I've seen where it says we are on the hook and we will be on the hook," says Republican Senator Mike Nofs.
Nofs, who represents the Battle Creek area, says he's not convinced the state will have to pay a penalty and says funds could be used from other areas. He's one of a majority of Republican senators who opposed taking federal money. He says he doesn't trust the federal government to partner with it.
"I don't think we should get involved in a federal fight. it's a federal program, let them pay for it, let them implement it, let them provide the service," says Nofs.