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      Medicaid debate heating up in northern Michigan

      State leaders are debating whether or not they should expand Medicaid coverage in the state of Michigan.

      The Michigan Hospital Association reports there are more than one million people without health insurance in the state.

      If Michigan TMs legislature decides to expand Medicaid, they said that number could nearly be cut in half. Medicaid expansion is a key component of President Barack Obama's new health care plan.

      Opponents, like Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, dislike the idea of supporting bigger government involvement.

      The legislature has major reservations about expanding government activity in the healthcare market," Schuette said. "So I support and appreciate their restraint in not expanding government participation in healthcare.

      Schuette positions himself against Governor Snyder and Munson Healthcare leaders.

      Munson President Ed Ness said expanding Medicaid would save Michigan money.

      I think it is good business and economic policy. Again, these patients are going to be treated whether or not Medicaid is expanded. It is better for our community, economically, to have them treated in a low cost setting rather than an expensive emergency department, said Ness.

      This week, the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce also spoke out in support of Medicaid expansion.

      Chamber Vice President Doug DeYoung said it would minimize the impact of uncompensated care and it would bring businesses in line with federal healthcare reform laws.

      We're going to have to cut the cost of the uninsured in our state. Wile we may not like the national healthcare system, while we may not like where we are heading|we have to, because of the Supreme Court ruling, start implementing parts of it. This is the part of it that helps cover the uninsured, DeYoung said.

      Meanwhile, Michigan lawmakers returned from spring recess this week.

      Medicaid expansion is once again up for debated in Lansing.

      7&4 news is monitoring their actions and will let you know when the proposal is put to vote.