FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, July 21, 2009
CONTACT: David Holtz
A Distraction Michigan Residents Can’t Afford
National Health Care Reform Should Be Priority
LANSING – A citizens watchdog group today criticized a health care proposal for state workers unveiled last week by state Rep. Andy Dillon, saying the Democratic Speaker’s plan is a distraction from real budget solutions and will likely be made irrelevant by national health care reform.
“National health care reform is a game-changer for most Michigan residents who care about costs and access to medical care,” said David Holtz, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “Speaker Dillon’s proposal is a distraction and may be mostly irrelevant once federal health care reform becomes law. The public employee costs projections, the standard of care—virtually every detail outlined in the Speaker’s proposal—will likely be reshuffled at the federal level in the coming months. Moreover, it would likely result in reducing health care benefits and raising costs for Michigan workers at a time when the state’s economy is struggling.”
Holtz said the Legislature should focus on real budget solutions.
“Rep. Dillon would be better off spending his time supporting national health care reform and focusing solutions to Michigan’s budget crisis that have already been identified like closing more than $400 million in massive corporate tax loopholes,” said Holtz.
Michigan is facing a massive budget shortfall surpassing $1 billion for the fiscal 2009-2010 year. While a growing number of citizens, policymakers and opinion leaders have called for closing some of Michigan’s hundreds of tax loopholes and corporate giveaways as a way to resolve the budget crisis, legislative leaders have thus far failed to act. Meanwhile, Speaker Dillon has focused on a complicated, controversial plan to pool health coverage for public employees at all levels.
“Two of Michigan’s senior members of Congress have sponsored the lead national health care bill in the U.S. House, a proposal that deals directly with standards under which health care pools can be established by states,” said Holtz. “Until we know the details of what Congress and the President decide on national health care, it makes no sense for state lawmakers to focus on a massive, complicated restructuring of all public employee health plans only to have a do-over next year.”