Lansing Update: January 26, 2007

In this issue of Lansing Update:

  1. House Committee Assignments Finalized
  2. Senate Committee Listing
  3. Senate Panel Receives Update on State Health Care Plan

House Committee Assignments Finalized

Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D-Redford) this week announced full committee appointments that will help shape legislative matters through the 2007–2008 legislative session. The announcement follows the Speaker’s decision to alter several committees from last session (see Jan. 12 Lansing Update), and includes the controversial choice of State Representative George Cushingberry (D-Detroit) as head of the powerful appropriations committee. Representative Cushingberry is facing a trial on felony perjury charges and a misdemeanor charge of failing to file two or more campaign finance statements stemming from the 2004 election.

Democrat and Republican committee chairs and members for the 07–08 session are as follows:

Senate Committee Listing

Senate Panel Receives Update on State Health Care Plan

While awaiting a federal waiver critical to its implementation, the director of the Department of Community Health (DCH) this week testified before the Senate Health Policy Committee that it is moving forward with plans to provide coverage to those Michigan residents who lack health care.

DCH director Janet Olszewski updated members during the committee hearing regarding the status of the Michigan First Health Care plan [Link no longer available —Ed.], which was announced by Governor Granholm last year during the annual State of the State Address. The goal of the program is to offer health care services to those 550,000 Michigan residents, mostly the poor and vulnerable, who lack coverage.

Persons targeted by the plan are in households with up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Under the plan individuals could receive emergency room care, hospital and mental health care, prescription drugs and preventative and primary care. Different plans could offer different coverage, Ms. Olszewski said. The plan is also aimed at small businesses that want to provide some health care for employees.

The department anticipates the monthly premium would be below $200 per individual, and those below 100 percent of the poverty level would be responsible for co-pays. Those between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty level would make premium payments and co-payments.

The administration on December 20 met with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt to discuss the waiver that is needed to allocate federal dollars for the state’s proposed plan.