Michigan Chamber of Commerce Applauds Senate Passage Of Medicaid Reform Legislation

LANSING, Mich., Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Michigan Chamber of Commerce today applauded the bipartisan passage of legislation to reform Michigan's Medicaid program and provide insurance access to the uninsured. House Bill 4714, introduced by Representative Matt Lori (R-Constantine), passed the Michigan Senate late yesterday, August 27th, by a vote of 20 to 18. The legislation will now go to the State House for a concurrence vote, which would send the bill to the Governor's desk for his signature. 

"We commend members of the Michigan Senate for working in a bipartisan fashion throughout the summer to fine-tune and strengthen the House-passed Medicaid reform legislation," said Wendy Block, Director of Health Policy and Human Resources for the Michigan Chamber. "While this issue has been controversial, the final legislation is a fiscally responsible solution to a tough issue – one that presents a real and unique opportunity to bend the overall health care cost curve and lessen the impact of Obamacare."

"Make no mistake: The Michigan Chamber remains strongly opposed to Obamacare and we fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop it," said Jim Holcomb, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber. "However, Obamacare is the law of the land and our members believe passing Medicaid reform is good policy that makes sense for all of Michigan."

"Michigan's uninsured citizens are entitled to health care today," noted Block. "This access happens in our state's emergency rooms, which is the most costly and inefficient form of providing care.

"This delivery model results in uncompensated care costs being shifted from hospitals to insurers to private health insurance purchasers, including employers," continued Block. "Medicaid reform makes sound economic sense because it will ultimately reduce the uncompensated care costs shift and control the upward spiral of health insurance rates."

"Medicaid reform also will help employers control their costs under Obamacare," Holcomb added.

"Without this legislation, an analysis by the tax preparation experts at Jackson-Hewitt suggests employers will pay $54-81 million in 'pay or play' penalties under Obamacare. Economically, this makes sense for both employees and job providers," Holcomb concluded.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is a statewide business organization representing approximately 6,400 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce. The Michigan Chamber represents businesses of every size and type in all 83 counties of the state. Michigan Chamber member businesses provide jobs to 1.5 million residents. One of every 2.6 employees in Michigan works for a Chamber member firm. The Michigan Chamber was established in 1959 to be an advocate for Michigan's job providers in the legislative, political and legal process. It is one of only six state chambers accredited by the U.S. Chamber and one of only four state chambers accredited with distinction.

SOURCE Michigan Chamber of Commerce

For further information: Wendy Block, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 517-371-2100