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State News February 8, 2013
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Governor Rick Snyder Releases FY 2014-2015 Budget Recommendations, Calls for Medicaid Expansion

Governor Rick Snyder released his budget this week and called for about 75 percent of the state’s funds to go toward education and health and human services. Governor Snyder recommended Michigan accept federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility to cover individuals up to 133 percent of the federal poverty limit. Federal funds will cover 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion from 2014 to 2016, 95 percent in 2017, 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019 and 90 percent in 2020 and thereafter. Governor Snyder proposed to deposit savings into a new health savings fund to cover any liabilities in the future. The proposed budget also included the expansion of Healthy Kids Dental, public health activities to reduce obesity and prevent pregnancy among other issues, mental health service innovations, a jail diversion initiative, and more funds for the Infant Mortality Reduction Plan. The total executive budget recommendation for fiscal year 2014, including all state and federal revenue sources, is $50.9 billion. The budget plan was outlined by Governor Snyder during a joint session of the House and Senate appropriations committees on Thursday. (Budget, News Release)

MDCH Director Lays Out Priorities

Jim Haveman, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), presented to the House Health Policy Committee on Tuesday. With a budget of over $15 billion and 3,500 employees, he laid out to the committee the Department’s strategic priorities for 2013. These strategies included improving Population Health by targeting "hot” chronic care needs, implementation of the Governor’s 4X4 plan to reduce obesity and improve wellness, addressing infant mortality, improving focus on preconception and early childhood health services, and integrating physical health and mental health services. Under "transforming the system of care” he announced the creation of a fund to explore innovative approaches to improve health, regionalization of services, enhancing technical support and opportunities to expand Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), focusing on veterans, and expanding the healthcare workforce. Haveman also pointed to the need to reform the healthcare system through better use of person-centered models of care, focusing on outcomes and quality, and streamlining services. Haveman made a commitment to creating a different culture within MDCH that is customer-focused and where employees take ownership of the mission.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Bills Move to House Committee

Senate Bills 61 and 62 that would convert Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to a non-profit mutual insurance company and which contain prohibition of "most favored nation” clauses in contracts between Blue Cross and contracted providers passed out of the Senate last week and are now in the House Insurance Committee.The committee held its first hearing on the bill on Thursday, February 7. It is expected that there will be one or two meetings of the committee to take testimony and then the bills will be approved by the committee and sent to the full House for approval. The Governor has requested these bills be put on a fast track. Blue Cross currently controls 70 percent of the health insurance market in Michigan.

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