People are dying, and yet the Senate Republicans continue to obstinately insist on a budget balanced largely on the backs of Michigan’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens.

It’s not hyperbole, it’s the truth. Just this morning, MIRS reported that Medicaid cuts claimed their first life.

A woman described as a severely mentally-impaired resident of Northern Michigan died Oct. 7 after being denied surgery to remove infected teeth. The infection, left untreated, caused her death.

From the MIRS report:

The woman, who required hospitalization to remove her infected teeth due to her disabilities, was scheduled for surgery late in June, before the cuts to the Adult Dental Medicaid Benefit were to take effect July 1. The day her surgery was scheduled, doctors recommended postponing the procedure until she recovered from a minor illness. By then, she no longer had Medicaid coverage for the surgery.

Despite the doctors’ willingness to donate the surgery, Medicaid denied coverage of the hospital costs.

As tragic as this is, we can only expect similar outcomes in the future. That’s because Majority Leader Sen. Mike Bishop and his caucus refuse to take up any revenue increases, including a 3% increase tax on services doctors provide which would bring in $2.70 in federal matching funds for every $1 paid in. Those federal matching funds would restore the cuts made to Medicaid benefits over the past year as part of the budget balancing debacle.

The docs are also resisting the tax.

It has to beg the question, who here cares about providing care for our vulnerable, indigent citizens? Not Bishop. Not the Republicans. Not even the docs.

If you’re looking for a jury passing judgment on our poor, look no further. We’ve got a death panel in Michigan, and they’ve just passed their first sentence.