Conservative activists oppose Snyder's re-election

A group of tea party and conservative activists said Tuesday that they would oppose Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's expected re-election bid because he has pushed to expand Medicaid coverage to nearly a half-million adults in Michigan.
AP Wire
Jun 12, 2013

 

"It is with careful consideration that we decide on a course of action that is, in our view, politically problematic, but nonetheless a forthright answer to a governor who will not listen to his base: Conservatives should not help this governor get re-elected," Jen Kuznicki, Presque Isle Republican Party chairwoman, wrote in an open letter signed by 32 other people, including some of Michigan's better-known tea party leaders.

The advocates said the final straw was Snyder asking U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to visit Michigan to discuss Medicaid expansion legislation. Snyder and the Republican leaders of the House and Senate sent a letter to Sebelius May 29 requesting that she meet with them.

Snyder is one of nine GOP governors to support or accept expanding Medicaid to adults making up to 133 percent of the poverty level — $15,300 a year for an individual — a major component of the federal health care law taking effect Jan. 1. The plan would provide coverage to 470,000 Michigan adults by 2021 if the state accepts.

A revised bill that could be voted on Wednesday in a GOP-controlled House committee would make 320,000 more adults eligible for government-funded health insurance in 2014, but it would require a waiver from the federal government for the state to receive federal funds for it. While Republican lawmakers blocked Snyder's plan to expand Medicaid as part of the next state budget, some are willing to support an expansion if low-income adults pay for some of their out-of-pocket costs, are incentivized to be healthier and if savings make up for potential extra costs to the state.

Snyder, who has not yet announced his 2014 re-election bid, did not back down from his stance Tuesday despite the tea party resistance.

"As an (accountant), Gov. Snyder knows there's a strong case that this Medicaid component is the financially responsible and smart thing to do while also being the right thing to do, both short- and long-term for Michiganders and our state's economy and health status," spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said. "What's being proposed is a unique Michigan-centric plan that protects our state's taxpayers and small businesses while ensuring coverage for our vulnerable citizens."

She said the governor has demonstrated consistently that he does not shy away from tough issues and "focuses on solving problems, not politics or polls."

"Whether the governor is described as a 'quirky' Republican, a 'liberal' Republican or a 'moderate' Republican, he should at least respect the will of the people in his own state, the platform and people in his own party," activists wrote in the letter.

In 2010, Snyder — a political novice at the time — watched as his four primary opponents attacked each other and split the party's conservative voters. He was able to draw on enough moderate Republicans, independents and even Democrats to win the GOP nomination and coast to victory over Democrat Virg Bernero in November.

It is unknown if a Republican will challenge Snyder in 2014. Many Democrats have coalesced behind former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer of Battle Creek as their gubernatorial candidate.

 

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