As the Michigan Legislature returns to complete its work for 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to modernize Michigan’s antiquated, inconsistent 32-year old system of health insurance regulations is an issue that is generating broad-based public support.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, The Detroit News editorialized that the legislation – currently working its way through the House Insurance Committee after being overwhelmingly approved by the Senate – could be the “marquee” item on the list of lawmaking to-dos.
This editorial amplifies previous support from The Detroit Free Press and the Lansing State Journal for the Governor’s plan to enable BCBSM to transition to become a nonprofit mutual insurer, pay taxes and be regulated in a fair and balanced way along with all other health insurers doing business in Michigan. The Free Press called for “swift action ” to give the Governor a chance to sign this legislation into law by year’s end.
The call for swift action should not be taken to mean that these bills aren’t being thoroughly reviewed. The House Insurance Committee wrapped 16 hours of public testimony last week, and between the Senate and House committees, a total of 12 public hearings have been held on the issue of regulatory change since 2011. The Senate this year took testimony from 25 individuals and organizations, and amended its legislation to take some of those ideas into account.
Health organizations are also joining the chorus of support – with Beaumont Health System issuing a letter on Nov. 2 to House Insurance Committee chairman Pete Lund, stating “health care providers like Beaumont need the Blues to be stable, successful and prepared for the challenges ahead, and Senate bills 1293 and 1294 will do that.” We agree.
Former Attorney General Frank Kelley also has voiced support, stating in a letter to Rep. Lund dated Nov. 15 concluding that “this proposed new legislation should be enacted.” We hope it is.
The legislation gives Michigan a unique opportunity to build a healthier future. As this infographic demonstrates, BCBSM will make substantial contributions to Michigan under the Governor’s plan.
Michigan benefits tremendously from a system where all insurers play by the same rules. The state benefits from a nonprofit Blue Cross – committed to Michigan and contributing in meaningful ways to our shared future.