Senate panel to take up bills limiting abortion insurance coverage in Michigan

LANSING–Senate Health Policy Committee Chair Sen. Jim Marleau announced Monday that the committee will take up legislation this week to ensure that health insurance policies sold in Michigan do not include abortion coverage.  

“These measurers will ensure unborn life will be protected under all health insurance options that are offered to Michigan residents,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion.

Under Senate Bills 612-614, sponsored by Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township, insurance policies sold on the new MiHealth Marketplace website or in Michigan’s current insurance markets would not be allowed to cover abortions. Abortion coverage would only be available by purchasing an additional rider on the policy paid for with a separate premium.

The Senate Health Policy Committee hearing on the measures is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 1 at 2:30 p.m. in the Senate Hearing Room, located in the Boji Tower across from the Capitol.

“The Senate has worked diligently to ensure that health care in Michigan is protected from federal control. If these proactive measures are not taken, the federal government will be making our health care decisions for us,” Marleau said. “This legislation, along with the bill to create the MiHealth Marketplace, would affirm that abortion would not be automatically covered under any Michigan health plan.”

The Senate recently approved SB 693 to establish the MiHealth Marketplace, a website that would foster competition for health insurance in the state. The Marketplace would be a nonprofit entity, funded by a fee on providers choosing to sell on the site. The voluntary, easy-to-use interface for residents to choose health insurance is an effort to encourage competition and prevent the federal government from imposing a one-size-fits-all program on the state.
 

Senate approves Marleau bill to establish MiHealth Marketplace website

LANSING–The Michigan Senate on Thursday passed a measure that would lower health insurance prices and expand choice and flexibility for every resident, said sponsor Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion.

Senate Bill 693 would establish the MiHealth Marketplace, a website that would foster competition for health insurance in the state.

“Competition is good for business, and it is good for residents seeking affordable health care,” said Marleau, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health Policy. “Competition drives prices down and helps ensure quality. The MiHealth Marketplace will provide competition that will empower residents choosing health insurance.”

Participation would be available to every resident, but completely voluntary. The Marketplace would be accessible online with an easy-to-use interface and would include a 24-hour phone center.

Marleau stressed that the Marketplace would not be a state agency but a separate nonprofit entity; government would not control health care in Michigan. The plan would be funded by user fee assessments on health insurance providers that choose to sell at the Marketplace.

“Not a single Michigan tax dollar will pay for the MiHealth Marketplace,” Marleau said.

Under the proposal, the Marketplace would include insurance plans for individuals and small businesses. Insurance would be available on or before Jan. 1, 2014.

Michigan is mandated by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to implement a health insurance exchange by Jan. 1, 2014. Otherwise the federal government will impose a one-size-fits-all program on the state.

Marleau said creating a Michigan-specific exchange is a much better idea than ceding authority to the federal government.

“Michigan needs to be in charge of its own destiny,” he said. “If we were to sit back and not move forward in a timely manner, the federal government would take control of Michigan health care. I will not gamble with our world-renowned care.”

SB 693 has been sent to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.

Sen. Marleau to hold office hours on Nov. 7

LANSING―State Sen. Jim Marleau announced today that he will be in Lake Orion from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 7 to provide constituents with an opportunity to discuss their concerns. All are welcome.

The office hours in Lake Orion are as follows:

Monday, Nov. 7
9 to 10 a.m.
Orion Township Hall
2525 Joslyn Rd.
Lake Orion, MI 48360

For further information please contact Marleau’s office by phone at 517-373-2417; via email at JimMarleau@senate.michigan.gov; or by visiting his website, www.SenatorJimMarleau.com.

Michigans economic health second-best

LANSING–Following the news that the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States has ranked Michigan’s economic health second-best in the nation, Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, offered the following comments:

“This is very encouraging news for Michigan job providers and residents as lawmakers continue to implement the reforms necessary to turn the state around. To receive this recognition from Bloomberg, one of the world’s top business and financial information services, means we are doing the right thing.

“Senate Republicans continue to focus on eliminating barriers to growth so job providers can expand their businesses and hire employees. Expert analysis continues to be bullish on Michigan. This bodes well for our future.”

The Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States considered indicators such as personal income, tax revenue, employment and housing prices in its analysis, placing Michigan second only to North Dakota, a state in the midst of an oil boom.

The Bloomberg study follows the Fitch Ratings agency upgrade to Michigan’s bond rating outlook last summer.