Marleau named to Medicaid workgroup

Sen. Jim Marleau has been named to a workgroup formed to study and offer possible options for legislative progress on reforming Medicaid in Michigan.

Marleau, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health Policy, said he was pleased to be a part of the Healthy Michigan Workgroup and excited to get started.

“The market-based strategies in House Bill 4714 are a great start, and now the Senate has limited time to impact this bill in a positive way,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “We have an opportunity to improve on this goal of a healthier Michigan through empowering Michiganders to make healthy decisions.

“Access to high value health care is key to a good quality of life in Michigan. The state leads the nation in developing strategies to use health insurance premiums and copays to improve health while reducing costs.”

Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, will be leading the workgroup. The other members are Marleau, Sen. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale; Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc; Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy; and Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart.

The Healthy Michigan Workgroup will meet during the summer and then present their findings to Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

Marleau bills would protect school districts from certain court judgments

LANSING―Sen. Jim Marleau introduced legislation Thursday that would prohibit court judgments to be levied against school districts for operating costs.

Senate Bills 442 and 443 were prompted by a $7.8 million court judgment against the Pontiac School District for the district’s missed payments to Michigan Education Special Services Association (MESSA), the organization that administers the district’s health and related employee benefit plans.

Responsibility for paying for the judgment will be passed on to taxpayers in the district.

“The Legislature passed Proposal A years ago to protect taxpayers from paying for school operating costs, but this judgment puts taxpayers in the Pontiac School District on the hook for such costs, to the tune of nearly $8 million,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “My bills address this gaping problem in the current law.”

Marleau said by law it is too late for his measures to address the situation with Pontiac Schools.

“Unfortunately taxpayers in the cities of Pontiac and Auburn Hills, as well as those in Orion Township, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield and Sylvan Lake, will most likely notice a significant increase in their summer tax bills,” Marleau said. “It’s sad that the $8 million levied against taxpayers will pay off the MESSA credit, not to fund our children’s education. MESSA spent 18 months providing a benefit our community could not afford, confident that taxpayers would foot the bill. It remains to be seen if the Pontiac School District will ever recover.”

SBs 442 and 443 have been referred to the Senate Committee on Education for consideration.

Governor signs Marleau ‘medical good faith’ bill

Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Tuesday requiring health organizations to provide in writing, upon request, any policies related to “life-sustaining or non-beneficial treatment” a patient is to receive, said sponsor Sen. Jim Marleau.

Public Act 57 of 2013 (Senate Bill 165) creates the Medical Good Faith Provisions Act, the first of its kind in the U.S.

The law was named after Faith Smith, a 4-year-old girl from Rochester Hills who was born with Trisomy 18, a genetic condition. Faith’s parents, Brad and Jesi, contacted Marleau about problems they were having with hospitals providing proper treatment for their daughter’s condition, which is often labeled “incompatible with life” by the medical community.

“You expect doctors to tell you every option to save a life, particularly that of a child, but it is not always the case,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Patients and their parents need to know about these policies. This law will help ensure transparency on the part of our health organizations.”

Some of the health facilities and agencies covered under the act include:
•    Ambulance operations and medical first response services;
•    Clinical laboratories;
•    Health maintenance organizations;
•    Hospitals;
•    Nursing homes; and
•    Hospices.

“I am thankful that Brad and Jesi Smith brought this issue to my attention and that we were able to address this serious problem,” Marleau said. “Faith and her parents are an inspiration to me and countless others who now have more transparency in health care and better communication between providers, parents and patients.”

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