Feb. 23rd, 2009

Contact: Leigh Fifelski
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Michigan Grassroots Groups Demand Quality, Affordable Health Care for All to Move Michigan’s Economy Forward

Lansing – A new report released today by Michigan Health Care for America Now (HCAN) shows why we must fix our health care system now in order to fix Michigan’s economy. The report, “Next Step: Health Care: To Fix Michigan’s Economy, We Need To Fix Health Care Now,” details how out-of-control health care costs are crippling local businesses, busting state and local budgets, and making it hard for families to afford the health care coverage they need. Michigan is one of 39 states to release state-specific data showing how their states are being affected by unaffordable and insufficient health care coverage.

“We cannot move Michigan’s economy forward if we don’t fix health care now,” said John Freeman from Michigan Health Care for America Now. “The health care provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are a good first step, but in order to truly get Michigan back on track we need comprehensive, national health care reform, and we need it now. Current health care costs are unsustainable, and we just cannot afford to wait any longer. ”

  • From 2000 to 2007, health insurance premiums in Michigan increased by more than 78.2{ef69e4e9e447e52a60027e369ac6a3d796f53805e5a70de1d67ce22dac9553da} while median yearly wages increased only 4.6{ef69e4e9e447e52a60027e369ac6a3d796f53805e5a70de1d67ce22dac9553da}.
  • 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.

Linda Teeter of Michigan Citizen Action commented: “We need government to act as a watchdog – setting and enforcing rules so private insurance companies can’t keep charging more, denying care, and padding CEO salaries and corporate profits with our hard-earned money.”

President Obama and 184 Members of Congress support the Health Care for America Now principles for reform and recognize the urgency of broad, comprehensive health care reform this year. As President Barack Obama said on February 10, 2009, “[T]here are some people who are making the argument that, well, you can’t do anything about health care because the economy comes first. They don’t understand that health care is the biggest component of our economy and, when it’s broken, that affects everything.”

State legislators are echoing President Obama’s message. “It is imperative that we have a system in Michigan that gives every resident access to affordable, quality health care,” said State Representative Marc Corriveau (D-Northville), who serves as Chair of the House Health Policy Committee. “We must make health care more affordable for our businesses that are being crushed under the burden of skyrocketing costs. Michigan’s health care system is sick right now, but I know that we can find a cure.”

“We are here today to say Michigan families and businesses have had enough. The numbers don’t lie. The costs are staggering. We need Congress to join with President Obama and support a national health care solution this year,” said Marjorie Mitchell from MichUHCAN.

Today’s report release is part of an unprecedented grassroots campaign that launched July 8, 2008 in Washington, DC and 52 cities across the country. Health Care for America Now will keep up the drumbeat during the April recess with 50 events including 100 Members of Congress. HCAN is also planning a large-scale event in Washington, DC in June as part of the campaign to win quality, affordable health care for all in 2009.

Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is made up of more than 725 organizations representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care we all can count on. We are doctors, nurses, community organizations, small business owners, faith-based groups, people of color, seniors, children’s and women’s rights groups, and labor unions fighting to achieve a national solution to our health care crisis in 2009.

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