Friday, April 02, 2010

Governor Granholm Answers Questions on Health Care Reform

Governor Granholm answers questions and explains some of the benefits of the new health care reform law. This week, an executive order set up a council to provide oversight and - very important - compliance with the new laws coming in the next few years.

The governor's executive order creates an Office of Health Insurance Consumer Assistance within the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) and an ombudsman to help provide consumers with information regarding health care insurance, assist with the filing of complaints, and to ensure compliance with laws and regulations relating to health care insurance.

We are already starting to see insurance companies try to game the new system (surprise!), so it's best to get some sort of consumer protection framework in place to handle these problems as they come up. The governor also said that she wanted to see a "more robust public option" (assuming the expansion of Medicaid is what she is referring to there when she said "more"), and chances are, that it exactly what we are going to get if the insurance companies keep jacking up their rates. Seems to be the logical conclusion without any price controls, right? Right. That's what we are counting on.

Time will tell. This is a battle that will go on for years as we stumble along and figure out how to make this work. Meanwhile, back in the Kiddie Pool, the splashing grew intense yesterday, as Virg Bernero called out Andy Dillon on his failure to support health care reform, and wondered why he wasn't taking a stronger stand against Mike Cox.

"I don't see Andy Dillon getting a resolution passed trying to stop Mike Cox from wasting taxpayers' money on this ridiculous legal boondoggle," Bernero said. "How is it that Andy Dillon can't make up his mind about something this important?"

Um, have you met Andy Dillon? The response from the Dillon camp was pretty much par for the course: He backtracked on his wishy-washy stance that he gave to MIRS, and then claimed that he needs more time to analyze the law.

Dillon spokesman Ken Coleman said Dillon has expressed support for the measures dozens of times.

He said Dillon wants to analyze what's in the new laws and how they will affect state services as the complex measures unfolds over the next four years.

"Citizens are desperately wanting a thoughtful approach to making sure this law gets implemented to the benefit of millions of Michiganders," Coleman said. "The health care act is the law of the land and now it's up to the states to find out how to best implement it to serve Michigan residents."

And that's why he said that he didn't know if he would have voted for health care reform or not. Ooo-kay. This little episode was followed by a Dillon campaign e-mail complaining about the "petty comments" from Bernero, complete with the claim that "Michigan deserves a leader focused on action" - which was rather curious since he just admitted that he wants to "analyze" this before he takes action, presumably after he "analyzes" the budget from last year, the budget for this year, his own state employee insurance plan that was announced last summer and still hasn't moved, and the state employee retirement bills that they promised they would work on over Spring Break, only to find out later that they canceled their committee meetings. Any more "action" out of Andy and we are going to have to reach for the No-Doz pretty soon, but it is funny how he can instantly take "action" to talk smack back at Bernero - when not one peep was uttered over Mike Cox.

As far as Cox goes, he is going to continue to waste our taxpayer money and put on a show for the teabagger base.

Shortly after Cox joined the suit, Robert Sedler, a Wayne State constitutional law professor, argued it did not have merit. "This suit is simply a matter of political posturing and its going to get thrown out anyway," he said.

Cox is going to change up the legal language and file on "behalf of the people of Michigan", as opposed to the state, which you would think would open him up to lawsuits if he were somehow successful. Although Cox is fond of claiming that "citizens rights are being abused" by the health care reform laws - he has no problem abusing the rights of citizens who don't want to be a part of his lawsuit by dragging us into this. How very Republican of him.

Whatever. Applause for those politicians who are standing up to face the heat and doing the hard work it is going to take to make this successful.