Michigan lawmakers have proposed a state tax on healthcare claims that would help fund medical care for low-income residents, according to a Detroit News report.

The tax is expected to cost some insurers and employers millions of dollars a year and lead to higher insurance premiums to consumers. Manufacturers and hospitals have come into conflict over the proposed tax, as manufacturers say the tax would halt new hiring and reduce employee benefits and hospitals say they could lose workers if the tax is defeated and Medicaid funding is cut.

Michigan’s 2012 budget, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday, depends on the passage of a 1 percent claims tax to fund Medicaid, which provides healthcare coverage to approximately 1.9 million Michigan residents. The tax would replace a 6 percent use tax that health maintenance organizations currently pay. The current tax does not affect consumers.

The current 6 percent use tax has been endangered by the federal government’s pending decision to disallow its use for federal matching funds. The proposed tax would shift responsibility for paying $400 million towards Medicaid from 14 Medicaid health plans to every health insurer and self-funded employer plan, according to the report.

Read the Detroit News report on Michigan Medicaid.  By: Rachel Fields