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State looks to renew program expanding Medicaid to Flint children and pregnant women

Army Corps of Engineers

The state is looking to renew a program to expand Medicaid for Flint residents.

The five-year program began in 2016, expanding Medicaid to low-income children up to age 21 and pregnant women impacted by lead in the Flint water system.

Bob Wheaton is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He said the state wants to expand the program for another ten years.

“So we want them to have access to Medicaid so they can have the healthcare needs that they have due to health exposure taken care of into the future beyond the five year project,” Wheaton said.

The program has so far served some 43,000 Flint residents.

“There’s long term health impacts to lead exposure in particular to children and to unborn babies in utero who are exposed to lead,” Wheaton said. “So, they have long term needs as a result of exposure.”

The expansion provided Medicaid to residents with income higher than 400% of the federal poverty level, or $103,000 for a family of four.

“The current five year project expires on February 28th, 2021, so we’re working in advance of that to get the 10-year extension approved to hopefully kick in when that project expires.”

The state is currently seeking comment on its application to renew the program.