MICHIGAN HEALTH REFORM
April 22, 2009 -- Insurance companies would be prohibited from rejecting the sick or elderly -- or hiking their rate -- and state health coverage would be expanded for children, under a package of proposed health care reforms unveiled by House Democrats today.
The package would guarantee health care access to all Michigan citizens.
The plan also would rein in the skyrocketing cost of health care by creating a catastrophic health care fund to protect the sickest individuals.
[[State Democrats unvelied a new health care plan Monday.
The plan would expand Mi-Child... the state's health care program for kids, and would call on insurance companies to contribute to a catastrophic protection plan to aid patients whose medical claims exceed 25-thousand dollars a year.
Representative Mark Meadows said, "The bottom line is it's unacceptable for insurance companies to deny coverage to people or jack up their rates because they're sick, and in Washington we know the federal government is talking about this, and in Michigan we've been very lucky."
The Democrats' plan will compete with Republican legislation which is supposed to be introduced in the State Senate within the next week.
Sponsors of the GOP proposal say it will focus on helping more than 1.2 million people in Michigan who don't have health insurance.]]
"Our plan requires all insurance companies to guarantee health care coverage to Michigan citizens, and ends the outrageous practice of insurance companies refusing to cover the sick or elderly," House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, said in a statement released this morning. "Health care reform is too important to wait for Washington to act -- we need to take action here in Michigan to guarantee access to protect each and every Michigan citizen."
The house bills would:
• Guarantee access to health care by requiring insurance companies to cover people who have pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or cancer.
• Prohibit insurers from raising rates on individuals who become sick.
• Ban unfair market practices like cherry picking the healthiest individuals to cover, which drive up insurance rates and prevent some of the most vulnerable residents from obtaining care.
• Expand the state's MIChild program to help cover every child in Michigan.
• Create the Michigan Catastrophic Protection Plan (MICAPP) Fund to rein in the soaring cost of health care and protect the sickest individuals.
The plan comes at a time when thousands of workers are losing their jobs and employer-based health care coverage -- putting them at risk of being rejected for new insurance plans due to pre-existing conditions.
Michigan's unemployment rate is 12.6 percent, the highest in the nation, and more than 1.1 million state residents are uninsured.
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