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Legislature wraps up work before summer break

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

A two-month summer break begins this week for lawmakers at the state Capitol. Republican leaders in the Legislature lined up several contentious votes before the extended break - some of the bills had a more difficult time winning approval than others. A tax on health insurance claims was approved by the Senate, but not before being rejected earlier in the week.

Democratic state Senator Bert Johnson says one of his issues with the insurance claims tax is that it would pile on expenses for seniors who had their pensions taxed earlier this year.

"The burden this Legislature has placed on Michigan seniors this year is already unjust," he says. "Yet this legislation before us now stands to make that burden even worse. This bill as it currently stands exempts most, but not all, Medicare plans from this tax."

The Senate approved the tax and sent it to the state House, where it will likely sit until lawmakers return in September. The Legislature needs to approve the tax on health insurance claims to get $800 million from the federal government to help pay for Medicaid. The federal government is expected to rule later this year that Michigan's Medicaid funding structure is illegal.

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