Vaupel's Bills To Improve Heath Care Access For Children Signed Into Law
June 23, 2019
Bills sponsored by a local lawmaker that aim to help with health care access for children in Michigan have been signed into law.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed House Bills 4304 and 4305 into law. Both were sponsored by Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville. Current Michigan law requires parents involved in child custody or divorce cases to provide their children with health care coverage through employment or private coverage.
Vaupel’s legislation now allows enrollment in affordable public health care coverage programs to satisfy court requirements. House Bill 4305 is tied to HB 4304 and allows parents to meet their obligation to provide health care coverage for their children by obtaining and maintaining private or public health care coverage (Medicaid or Medicare) by revising the Friend of the Court Act. The bill also requires that the child support formula provide guidance on determining the reasonable cost and accessibility of health care coverage and guidance on which parent should provide health care coverage for the children.
Vaupel told WHMI the plan helps parents get affordable and accessible health care programs for their children. He says it brings them into in compliance and makes it legal to use Medicaid, although many were already doing it. He noted that in a lot of instances, parents don’t have either employer or private providers. He says that’s why they also specified accessible health care, because some parents might be able to provide it but live out of state, so it’s really not accessible. Vaupel says federal statute was also changed, so the state needed to match up or risk losing federal dollars toward the Medicaid program.
House Bill 4304 revises the Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act to implement a federal regulation that requires the Michigan child support program to allow parents to meet their obligation to provide health care coverage for their children by obtaining and maintaining private or public health care coverage (Medicaid or Medicare). House Bills 4304 and 4305 were passed by the Michigan House on May 7th and took immediate effect after being signed by Governor Whitmer. (JM)