MI's Granholm Joins Health Reform Trend

May 11, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Following the lead of lawmakers in Massachusetts and Vermont, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm unveiled a universal health care plan for her state Thursday designed to cover all 1.1 million residents who are currently uninsured.

class=”edit_miniblueheader” style=”TEXT-INDENT: 0px”>The proposal, patterned after a the Massachusetts law (See Mass. Senate Votes To Fine Employers Not Providing Health Insurance),  is an expansion of a plan announced in January that would provide heath coverage to the 550,000 Michigan citizens below 200% of the poverty level (which is $38,700 for a family of four), the Detroit News reported.

Granholm’s new plan also would offer health care insurance to the working poor above that level who do not have coverage. The state would pay a portion of premiums depending on family income. “We want everyone to have access to quality health care in an affordable way,” Granholm said at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, according to the News.

In addition, the governor asserted that her plan would help push more small companies into getting into the program. The state is negotiating for a federal Medicaid waiver by the end of the year to offer the program by April of 2007. It would also require legislative approval.

Funding would come from about $400 million in community mental health money and a $600 million federal match, Granholm said.

The Michigan plan would mirror the Massachusetts version in providing coverage to the uninsured but, unlike Massachusetts, patients would not have to have health insurance.

“We’re providing them an offer they can’t refuse,” Granholm asserted, according to the News.

class=”edit_miniblueheader” style=”TEXT-INDENT: 0px”>The Vermont Legislature this week approved a similar health care reform bill designed to increase the number of individuals in that state with health coverage to 90% or 95% (See VT Health Care Reform Moves Forward ).