What state lawmakers didn’t do

FLINT – When they return to school in the fall, a lot of kids will be asked to write essays about what they did on summer vacation.

I wish Michigan’s Senate Republicans were required to do the same. If they were, a lot of voters – particularly the legions of working poor and those who tend to not pay attention to the news when the temperature gets above 70 and the lakes and woods beckon – would be dismayed at what they read.

Of course, our senators would never write such an essay so, helpful guy that I am, I’ve taken the liberty of writing one for them.

Dear Teacher, we began our two-month summer vacation by refusing to pass an expansion of Medicaid called the Healthy Michigan plan that would provide insurance to 320,000 of the state’s working poor. Pretty cool, huh?

Oh, sure, some wet blankets – like our nerdy governor – don’t think it’s so cool. Instead of commending us for dragging our feet, he had the nerve to say we should be ashamed of ourselves for going on vacation instead of passing the bill. On top of that he said that voters – Republicans and Democrats – ought to bug us all summer to return to Lansing and do our jobs. Can you believe it? The guy’s supposed to be on our side!

Anyway, it just goes to show you how clueless Mr. Relentless Positive Action is sometimes. I mean, sure, the Healthy Michigan plan would help a whole bunch of people who can’t afford insurance, which would dramatically increase the health of the state, which is something that would benefit us all.

And, sure, providing insurance to the uninsured would mean they’d stop using emergency rooms as doctor’s offices, which hospitals would love because they get socked good for all that “uncompensated care,” which eventually ends up raising premiums for everyone.

And, yes, it’s true that the Healthy Michigan plan would make recipients pay some of their own medical costs and make them responsible for their own health – you know, by losing weight, walking, eating better, getting regular care, that kind of thing – all of which, by the way, was recommended by our Republican brethren in the House when they passed the bill.

And, yes, there’s also the fact that Obamacare will pay the entire cost of the program for the first three years, and pay 90 percent thereafter, making this what the kids call a real “no-brainer,” especially since the remaining cost would be offset by the expected savings.

But what everyone is forgetting is that we have needs, too. Many of us have re-election campaigns coming up in 2014, and you don’t win tea party votes by voting for anything related to Obamacare. You win them by reflexively voting no to everything, regardless of merit. The governor understands that, but clearly he’s more concerned with putting the good of the state over the good of the party. Why would he do such a thing?

Sometimes we swear the guy has some Democrat in him.

EDITOR’S NOTE – Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.