Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on a proposal to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, which ensured that workers on state projects were paid a fair wage. The proposal passed by a vote of 56-53. Afterwards, the House also voted to endanger access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders covered by the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion. The legislation passed mostly on party lines, with all Democrats voting no. In response, state Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) issued the following statement:
“Strong wages, like those supported by our prevailing wage law, ensure Michigan’s hardworking men and women are able to earn a decent living and support a family. This repeal is nothing more than a blatant move by corporate fat cats to line their pockets with the wages of working families – hurting workers, communities and local economies in the process. The people of our state deserve better.
“The cruelty of the prevailing wage repeal was exacerbated by the passage of Senate Bill 897, attacking Healthy Michigan, a successful program that provides lifesaving care to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. SB 897 will create barriers of extra paperwork between hardworking people and the care they need, and inevitably lead to thousands being denied the care, including many who are unable to work while caring for an elderly parent or another loved one. Based on the experience of other states that have plunged into the same bureaucratic morass, implementing this denial of coverage could cost taxpayers more than $180 million in the first six months. I offered an amendment to reduce the work hour requirement to zero because Healthy Michigan is a health care program, not a work program.
“A strong paycheck and access to quality health care are the two primary means by which families can get ahead, and what happened yesterday robbed Michiganders of both. It was nothing more than a heartless attempt by Republicans to demagogue in an election year, and was the epitome of poor governance.”