Friday, August 28, 2009

Dillon Unveils the Michigan Health Benefits Program

My first thought was, "On a Friday afternoon?"

My second thought was, "Where is your goddamn budget plan? What are you guys willing to fight for?"

With the Senate Republicans threatening education, health care, revenue sharing and whatever else they can possibly destroy, cuts that are going to hurt this state and its citizens bad, with college kids having to come up with money they don't have because of the mere threat of cuts to their scholarships, pulling this out now just seems incredibly self-serving.

But hey, that's what Lansing is all about, isn't it?

I'm not in a very good mood today.

The Michigan Health Benefits Program would offer a menu of health coverage plans to local school district, cities, counties and others. They each would choose which plans to offer their employees, and then bargain with employee unions the amount of deductibles, co-pays and coverage of dependents.

The entire program would be paid for through a single fund, under the state treasurer with money from premiums charged to all public employers.

The state employer would negotiate with insurance companies and other health service companies to craft benefits and set costs. Dillon has said the program will use more than one insurer to offer a range of insurance plans. The cost of the program would be based in part on health insurance costs of private sector employees, and public workers in other states.

Dillon has set up a special committee to gather input on the plan. Rep. Pam Byrnes says it will take "months" to develop the legislation. And yes, after contracts run out, groups will be required to join the statewide plan, and negotiate with the state. Imagine the bueacracy behind something like that.

A copy of the draft legislation can be found here. Tear it up, all you lawyer types out there.

And look! It's got "death panels!"

The statewide health plan could also require “clinical advocates” to review medical diagnoses and treatments – an overview Dillon has said will save millions of dollars in waste.

Gawd, I'm mean.

Might be a different story if I would see any sign that the House Democrats are going to stand up and fight on this budget. Maybe that's coming, I don't know, but any attempts to tie this to our current problem, which you know the media is going to do, is nuts. "Savings" would come years down the road, if at all.

* grumble *