In response to the mounting water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder calls for an expanded Medicaid coverage. Snyder submitted a formal request letter on Sunday to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to include pregnant women and residents up to 21 years old.

The extended coverage would benefit at least 15,000 more residents in Flint who had been affected by the city's water crisis. Snyder says that children, teenagers and young adults who were exposed to lead requires comprehensive coverage for the medical tests and treatments.

"Expanding these services and lead abatement efforts will mitigate the risks of lead exposure and result in better identifying any long-term health challenges, including behavioral issues," says Snyder.

Upon approval of the extended Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program, case managers will be able to connect Medicaid health plans with doctors and behavior health experts in order to plot better service access for the affected Flint residents. The expansion will also strengthen nutrition-based efforts and improve the people's access to social and educational campaigns within the community.

The requested coverage expansion will not only cater to young adults up to 21 years old who are being supplied or were supplied with the contaminated water system starting April 2014, it will also cover pregnant residents and their future children.

The expansion will cover Flint residents across all incomes. However, those with a yearly income of $47,520 or four-person families with a combined annual salary of $97,200 will be given the option to buy into the health program.

On Tuesday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will visit Flint to meet residents during this talk at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church where he will answer several questions from the public.

Last Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said that Snyder will testify on the Flint water crisis before the Congress. The hearing, which has yet to be scheduled will have two panels. Flint's former mayor and emergency manager and water experts will be included in the first panel. Environmental Protection Agency's Gina McCarthy and Snyder will attend the second panel.

Chairman and Utah Gov. Jason Chaffetz says Snyder's willingness to testify before the committee is much appreciated. The group also looks forward to hear the testimony of EPA Administrator McCarthy.

Photo: Detroit Regional Chamber | Flickr

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