Name
Michigan Catholic Conference
Phone
(800) 395-5565
Fax
(517) 372-3940
Address
510 S. Capitol Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

News Release: Catholic Health Leaders Offer Guiding Principles for Medicaid Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Lansing)—Leaders of the state’s largest religious community and network of health care providers today are offering through a joint statement their guiding principles for Medicaid reform as the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness meets to begin its discussion on proposed reform policies. Signed by Michigan Catholic Conference, Trinity Health, Ascension Health-Michigan, and OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group, the statement explains that reforming Medicaid in an acceptable manner is “a noble endeavor” that will benefit future generations and the state as a whole.

According to the joint statement: “As leaders of our respective institutions, individually guided by the directive to uphold and protect the sanctity and dignity of human life, we believe reforming Medicaid—in a manner that is acceptable—follows a moral track that will lead to sound public policy and an increased standard of living in our state. Reforming the “path to access” for those who are currently excluded from health care is a noble endeavor by which future generations of Michigan workers, families and children stand to benefit.”

As the House committee today begins to deliberate reform policies that broaden Medicaid coverage to those earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, the Catholic health care leaders who have signed the joint statement believe any reform proposal must be crafted in a manner that:

  • Is truly universal,
  • Does not deny care to those in need, and
  • Respects the life and conscience of every person

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. Trinity Health Michigan employs 29,000 people at its 12 Michigan hospitals and 22 continuum of care facilities. The Michigan Health Ministries of Ascension Health employ more than 30,000 associates and are a major economic driver in the state, with $1.5 billion in payroll each year. OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group is a sole community provider and the only hospital in Michigan’s South/Central Upper Peninsula. It serves a population of approximately 55,000 people, with more than 700 employed staff and physicians.

The Catholic health care leaders' statement is attached to this message and may be found below.

Statement of Guiding Principals for Medicaid Reform

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May 14, 2013

We, the undersigned, speaking on behalf of the Catholic bishops in Michigan and the largest network of health care providers in the state, respectfully offer our guiding principles for policies that seek to reform the state’s Medicaid program. The specific provision of the federal policy to fund the state’s effort presents a welcome opportunity for policymakers to extend access and to strengthen protection for those who lack care.

For decades the Catholic Church has consistently insisted that access to decent health care is a basic safeguard of human life and an affirmation of human dignity from conception until natural death. As the Michigan Legislature begins debate on Medicaid reform, we believe that any proposal must be crafted in a manner that:

  • Is truly universal,
  • Does not deny care to those in need, and
  • Respects the life and conscience of every person

These goals can be accomplished through the present, unique opportunity to reform a Medicaid program that, at its core, is designed to protect the vulnerable.

As leaders of our respective institutions, individually guided by the directive to uphold and protect the sanctity and dignity of human life, we believe reforming Medicaid—in a manner that is acceptable—follows a moral track that will lead to sound public policy and an increased standard of living in our state. Reforming the “path to access” for those who are currently excluded from health care is a noble endeavor by which future generations of Michigan workers, families and children stand to benefit.

Medicaid reform offers an effective solution by reducing costly emergency room trips while increasing primary care visits. Reform will also have a significant impact on reducing the number of uninsured persons in the state. Extending health care access to approximately 450,000 adults, thereby decreasing the number of uninsured by 46 percent, is a rare chance to improve substantially the health and lives of Michigan residents. We support this socially just goal and the impact legislation could have on strengthening the structural framework of the state budget.

Reforming Medicaid will also provide an economic stimulus to the state, in addition to the moral certainty of providing greater health care access to vulnerable persons. Since the federal government will cover expenses for which Michigan pays today, the state’s General Fund is expected to save $206 million in 2014 alone. According to estimates, Michigan will realize a savings of $320 million in uncompensated care costs by 2022. Additionally, over $20 billion in new federal dollars received between 2014 and 2023 will generate millions of new dollars in the state’s economy.

For the reasons identified above, we believe Michigan will better position itself for the future by accepting federal funds to reform the state’s Medicaid program. As leaders of Michigan’s largest religious community and network of health care providers, we proudly offer our support to the chorus of voices urging the Michigan Legislature to pass genuine Medicaid reform.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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Name
Michigan Catholic Conference
Phone
(800) 395-5565
Fax
(517) 372-3940
Email
Address
510 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
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