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Divided Michigan Senate approves health care budget

Associated Press Writer

LANSING, March 25, 2008  (AP): After lengthy debate, a divided state Senate has passed a spending plan providing health care to the poor, elderly and disabled.

Republicans who control the chamber blocked Democrats' efforts to continue allowing 19- and 20-year-olds to get Medicaid.

Democrats also were unable to create pilot mental health courts for criminals with mental illnesses. The courts could have diverted some offenders to community-based treatment rather than sending them to jail.

Democrats say their amendments are crucial to people's health. Republicans say overall spending would rise $400 million, and they're ensuring the most vulnerable are protected.

The Senate passed the bill 20 to 18 Tuesday, mostly along party lines. The House takes it up next month.






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