Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday became the latest Republican to support a controversial "Obamacare" provision, a move sure to earn the ire of conservatives.
In a statement, Snyder announced his support for the federal expansion of Medicaid funding -- a key component of the nation's healthcare law. Snyder announced that his 2014 budget recommendation -- to be officially unveiled on Thursday -- would expand Michigan's Medicaid program.
"This makes sense for the physical and fiscal health of Michigan," the governor said in the statement. "Expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save precious tax dollars. It also puts Michigan rather than Washington in the driver's seat in terms of implementation, which allows us to better address Michigan's specific needs."
Snyder said the move would provide routine and preventative health care to 320,000 Michigan residents in the first year, with 470,000 covered by the year 2021, "reducing the amount of Michigan's uninsured by about 46 percent."
Regarding expanded access to primary care providers, Snyder said it will lower the cost of emergency room visits and lower hospital costs, citing a study that stated the Great Lakes State could save an estimated $351 million by 2022.
With his decision, Snyder became the sixth Republican governor to support the federal expansion of Medicaid funding. Other governors are: John Kasich of Ohio, Jan Brewer of Arizona, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota. They join 13 Democratic governors to support the expansion.
Among the Republican governors who have rejected the measure are: Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rick Perry of Texas. Jindal and Perry are could seek the presidency in 2016. In total, 11 states have refused to sign on to the deal.
Republicans accepting the measure are sure to face conservative criticism.
Many conservatives have long decried "Obamacare," with the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion program special targets.
After Kasich accepted the provision, conservatives blasted the Ohio governor.