Thursday, March 12, 2009

Watch the Dearborn White House Regional Forum on Health Reform Live

Is this President cool or what? Can you imagine Bush doing something like this?

Watch the Dearborn Forum live - just push play. Hosted by Governor Granholm and Governor Jim Doyle - 400 people, from doctors to patients to insurers to hospitals and everyone in-between, all talking about their ideas and asking questions about health care reform. You can also submit your ideas online at

Health care is now the number one job provider in Michigan - but hospitals are now facing crisis due to losses that come from uninsured patients/unpaid care, as they are being swamped with this downturn in the economy. Beaumont recently announced they will lay-off 84 people due to budget concerns, and a report by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association found that overall, 15 hospitals either laid off or furloughed up to 1,320 employees in 2008.

More details in the report reveal the problem we face:

• Michigan hospitals absorbed record amounts of unreimbursed care in 2008, surpassing the previous year’s unprecedented level of more than $2 billion. Unreimbursed care includes bad debt, charity care and the unpaid cost of health care services provided to people covered primarily by Medicare or Medicaid.

• Uncompensated care rose 8 percent just in the third quarter of 2008 compared with the year before.

• Between 1999 and 2007, the number of Michigan residents covered by private health insurance declined by 727,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of those residents now are either uninsured or rely on Medicaid for their health care.

• More people are showing up in hospital emergency rooms with no health insurance and are unable to pay for their health care. In 2007, the last year for which data was available, Michigan hospitals recorded 4.5 million ER visits, a 3 percent increase from the previous year.

• Michigan’s Medicaid caseload has increased every year since 2000, when the state officially went into a recession. In 2008, the caseload increased to 1.6 million people, the highest in Michigan history.

Gov. Jim Doyle has an excellent column in HuffPo on how the state of Wisconsin is addressing their health care needs - check it out here.

This is rapidly becoming the number one domestic issue in America - for both business and consumers alike. Let's hope we can get some reform moving soon.