Report: Address Health Care to Fix Michigan’s Economy

Michigan's Broken Health Care System Must Be Fixed to Fix the Economy

The key to fixing Michigan’s economy is fixing the state’s health care system according to Michigan Health Care for America Now. The group argues that Michigan is being squeezed by out-of-control health care costs and a system that is straining state and local budgets, businesses, and families.

Report Finds Unsustainable Health Care Costs in Michigan

Michigan Health Care for America Now released a report yesterday to support its assertions. In the report, titled “To Fix Michigan’s Economy, We Need To Fix Health Care Now,” the group argues that health care costs can be contained only by undertaking comprehensive national health care reform. Michigan is one of 46 states with a budget deficit, with health care costs contributing to those deficits.

Among some of the more interesting–and disturbing–findings:

  • From 2000 to 2007, health insurance premiums in Michigan increased by more than 78.2% while median yearly wages increased only 4.6%.
  • Michigan’s median yearly wage in 2007 was only $27,096, but the average health care premium for a family was $12,151.
  • In 2008, the average premium for family coverage in Michigan was $13,511. By 2016, that number is expected to be more than $26,000.

Additionally, due to the limitations of the current health care system, Michigan spent 22% of its budget on Medicare and SCHIP–two programs that help provide coverage to those who most need it. However, the report argues that nationwide reform could reduce this spending.

Short of Advocating Health Care for All

However, like the stimulus bill and its prescriptions for largely preserving the current status quo, the study doesn’t advocate a radical change in health care. Health Care for America Now is advocating a model similar to what was proposed by Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign that would make modest reforms to the current system to ensure more people. Obama’s plan–while an improvement and certainly better than Republican John McCain’s proposal–would maintain much of the current health care bureaucracy and would stop far short of providing a national health care plan.

While the report argues that adopting its plan would help fix the current economic situation, another study last week argued that single-payer health care–which would provide universal health care to all Americans–would provide critical economic stimulus.

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Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org