News Releases

President Trump’s budget attacks anti-poverty programs, not poverty

For Immediate Release
May 23, 2017

Contact:
Karen Holcomb-Merrill
karenhm@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

Budget includes billions in appalling cuts to Medicaid, food assistance and other vital programs

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s budget proposal released today. This statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Time and again, our work shows that millions of people in Michigan are already walking a precarious tightrope of economic security and our state and federal governments should be doing more to help them. Yet today, President Trump’s proposed budget cuts a two-trillion dollar hole over ten years in the safety net designed to catch them if they fall. The president’s budget calls for $600 billion in cuts to Medicaid over ten years, on top of massive cuts proposed in the House-passed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, severe changes to federal food assistance and significant reductions in services for people with disabilities and more.”

“The Trump budget is anti-poor people, not anti-poverty, as his proposals attack government support services that are working for Michigan families. At the same time, the President is proposing massive tax cuts largely for the wealthy and corporations that would likely cost several trillion dollars over the coming decade, if honestly measured. The budget relies on unrealistic economic assumptions and gimmicks to hide that the President’s tax cuts would dramatically increase deficits and debts.”

“Trump’s budget largely hurts the people who are struggling economically and have felt that their government hasn’t been listening to them or responsive to their needs. Medicaid and food assistance are just as vital in rural areas as they are in our cities, and these cuts will be felt just as badly by those residents.”

“As Congress prepares to advance its own budget plans, our delegation must not simply oppose the Trump budget. They must oppose any Congressional budget plan that follows the same architecture. They must oppose cuts to assistance that helps millions in Michigan achieve a basic living standard. They must oppose cuts to investments in long-run economic growth and basic public services. And, they must oppose massive tax cuts to the nation’s wealthiest.”

The League has been speaking out on potential federal budget cuts since President Trump’s “skinny budget” in March and has warned against changes to how states receive federal food assistance funding. The League also continues to advocate for the Healthy Michigan Plan and Medicaid expansion, and oppose the American Health Care Act and other potential funding changes to Medicaid.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Lawmakers should abandon tax cut, uphold strategic investments in light of downward revenue estimates

For Immediate Release
May 17, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

State budget funding for child care and heating assistance will bring in vital federal dollars

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the revenue projections being announced at today’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. It can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Today’s downward revenue estimates should tell Michigan lawmakers two things. One, given the fluctuations in state revenues, it was and continues to be foolhardy to consider tax cuts that would further jeopardize state services. The state’s General Fund has not kept pace with inflation, and Michigan now has the second highest reliance in the nation on federal funds for basic services. Deep cuts sure to come in the federal budget—along with existing demands on state general funds—could put Michigan in a very precarious fiscal position and threaten the state’s ability to support the services and infrastructure needed to keep the economy growing. Lawmakers should be focused on creating a tax system that is fair and able to withstand economic downturns or swings in federal policy. We simply can’t afford to cut taxes in a time of unpredictable revenues.

“Two, in the context of lower than expected revenues, legislators must be very strategic when allocating state revenues to make sure that state spending priorities match the needs of Michigan’s residents. This includes investing funds in the current state budget in child care and heating assistance to leverage hundreds of millions in federal dollars to support working parents and put food on the tables of kids, seniors and people with disabilities through ‘heat and eat.’”

For more information, see the League’s budget briefs on child care and education and “heat and eat” and human services.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Republican health bill would hit rural Michiganians hard

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

U.S. Senate should oppose any bill that ends the Healthy Michigan Plan, caps or cuts Medicaid or makes coverage less affordable

LANSING—The U.S. House Republican health bill would be particularly harmful to Michigan’s rural communities, according to a new report released today by the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. With debate now underway in the Senate, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters–longstanding champions for affordable healthcare—can work with their colleagues to prevent the bill’s harmful cuts and other changes from ultimately becoming law. The Michigan League for Public Policy strongly opposed the American Health Care Act and continues to work with state and national partners to advocate for the protection of the Affordable Care Act and the Healthy Michigan Plan and the affordable, quality healthcare they provide for millions of state residents.

“Despite the economic and health struggles of our state’s rural residents, nearly all of Michigan’s congressional delegation that represents rural communities surprisingly voted against the interests and needs of their constituents with their passage of the American Health Care Act,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan are vital lifelines to quality healthcare for rural Michiganians, and we hope the Senate will stand up for these programs and reject the House bill that would decimate coverage for these residents and people around the state.”

The House bill would effectively end the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion, known as the Healthy Michigan Plan in Michigan, under which 113,800 rural Michiganians have gained coverage. This is the fourth-highest number of rural enrollees of all states that have expanded Medicaid. Roughly 1 in 5 Michigan residents who have gained coverage under the expansion live in rural communities. The Healthy Michigan Plan has also expanded access to substance use disorder treatment at a time when many of Michigan’s rural communities have been ravaged by the opioid crisis. The League has been a strong supporter of the Healthy Michigan Plan in the state budget process as well as the federal healthcare debate.

The House-passed bill would roll back progress in coverage and harm rural providers by effectively ending the Medicaid expansion. Beginning in 2020, states would receive only the regular federal Medicaid matching rate for any new enrollees under the expansion instead of the permanent expansion matching rate of 90 percent. This would force states to pay 2.8 to 5 times more than under current law for each new enrollee. In seven states including Michigan, these higher costs would automatically trigger immediate or eventual termination of the Medicaid expansion, with no action by state policymakers necessary. Laws in these states either explicitly require the expansion to end if the federal matching rate falls or require the state to prevent an increase in state Medicaid costs.

The bill also would dramatically cut and radically restructure the entire Medicaid program through a per capita cap or block grant (see League fact sheet), putting coverage for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children at risk across the state. In combination with ending expansion, the bill’s per capita cap would shift $17 billion in costs to Michigan over the next decade. Medicaid plays a particularly important role in Michigan’s rural communities, and these cuts would threaten access to care for rural residents, including by harming Michigan’s rural hospitals.

In addition, the bill would replace the ACA’s premium tax credit and cost-sharing protections with an inadequate tax credit that would make coverage unaffordable for many of Michigan’s rural residents. Nearly 1 in 4 Michiganians who buy their coverage in the ACA marketplace are from rural communities. The House bill would raise total costs for State marketplace consumers by $1,519, on average.

“The healthcare bill Congress sent to the Senate reduces coverage and raises costs for rural and urban residents alike, and we need to keep fighting to make sure this bill or any similar proposals stop dead in their tracks,” Jacobs said. “To that end, we will keep working to remind federal and state lawmakers of the human impact of their decisions on healthcare.”

The House bill also removes key protections that the ACA put in place nationwide to let people with pre-existing conditions get affordable coverage that provides the health services they need. These protections are especially critical to people in rural communities, who are more likely to have disabilities or die as a result of a chronic disease.

To learn more about this report, please visit: http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/house-passed-bill-would-devastate-health-care-in-rural-america.

The League is part of the Protect MI Care coalition, an organization of consumer, healthcare and insurer groups in the state who are working together to protect the ACA, the Healthy Michigan Plan and the care they provide. More information on the coalition is available at www.protectmicare.com.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Lawmakers pass healthcare bill that will hurt millions of Michigan residents

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the U.S. House Republicans’ passage of legislation today to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The statement may be attributed to League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Today, congressional Republicans passed a healthcare plan that shows they don’t really care about health, and to add insult to injury, they did so with jubilation, not reservation. Instead of helping people, lawmakers voted today to eliminate insurance coverage for 24 million Americans, including the 650,000 Michigan residents who are covered through the Healthy Michigan Plan. They voted to end fair and affordable coverage for millions of people with pre-existing conditions, cut $800 billion in Medicaid funding, and eliminate nationwide bans on annual and lifetime limits.

“It’s particularly disheartening that it took making this bill worse to actually get it passed, but this fight is far from over—it’s just moving to a new venue. The League and our partners in Michigan and around the country will keep doing everything we can to protect healthcare coverage for residents who are struggling physically, mentally or financially. We hope that the Senate will be deliberative and put the real needs of Americans above the political rancor that has unfortunately dominated this debate.”

The League has been a strong advocate for the Affordable Care Act and the related Healthy Michigan Plan, and have opposed the U.S. House’s attempts to repeal it and change how Medicaid is funded. The League is also part of the Protect MI Care coalition, an organization of consumer, healthcare and insurer groups. More information is available at www.protectmicare.com.

Recent League Efforts on Healthcare:

March 16, 2017, Press Statement on AHCA: Major flaws exposed in U.S. House Republicans’ healthcare plan

Budget Brief: Protect Healthcare for 650,000 Michiganians

Fact Sheet: Medicaid Block Grants and Per Capita Caps Are Bad for Michigan’s Health

Fact Sheet: 10 Reasons the Affordable Care Act is Good for Michigan

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

New League report and online tool calculate how much it really costs to make ends meet in each county

For Immediate Release
May 3, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

For 20 years, League has been publishing report to help policymakers understand true economic struggles of Michigan families

LANSING—It costs a Michigan family between $2,580 and $4,722 a month to pay for necessities and provide for themselves and their family according to Making Ends Meet in Michigan, a new report released by the Michigan League for Public Policy today. The monthly income necessary to make ends meet for a single parent with two kids is $3,943, and it costs a single worker $1,923 a month to get by.

The report analyzes and compiles state and county data on the costs of housing, food, child care, healthcare, transportation, and clothing and other household necessities along with likely taxes owed, to identify the Basic Needs Income Level. The Basic Needs Income Level is the amount of household income a family or individual must have to have in order to meet basic needs without public or private assistance. It’s what it really costs to live in a county.

An online calculator available at www.mlpp.org/calculator can be used to calculate the cost of living by county and family size. This report uniquely analyzes four different household sizes in each county—single, single parent, two parents/both working and two parents/one working. All families assume two children under age 5.

“For too long, policymakers have only used the poverty level and unemployment to assess how people in Michigan are doing, but there’s so much more to every Michigan family’s story and struggles than that,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “This report seeks to draw attention to how much it really costs for families to make ends meet both statewide and in each county, and how our state’s current wages and services are not cutting it.”

The federal poverty threshold determines who is counted as officially poor but tells us little about whether a person or family is living in economic security. It does not reflect regional and local differences in the cost of living and is based on a model that, while adequate when first devised in 1965, is less reflective of today’s economic realities.

The Basic Needs Income Level calculated in this report is intended to help lawmakers and residents easily understand how much income a family needs in order to pay for all of its basic expenses. The Basic Needs Income Level can be used to measure the economic security of Michigan’s working families, assess the adequacy of worker wages and benefits, promote programs and policies that assist families in need, and as a benchmark by which to assess the quality of jobs being created in the state.

With this localized data on how much it really costs for families to make ends meet, the Michigan League for Public Policy’s report reframes the discussions around need, wage standards, public assistance and what it means to live in economic security. The League is focused on ensuring all Michigan residents have economic security because simply lifting people out of poverty is not enough. In addition to showing that the poverty level alone is not an adequate measure of stability, this data also shows that the state’s unemployment rate is not the only—or an adequate—benchmark for economic recovery.

“This data backs up what we’ve been saying the last few years as Michigan has ‘recovered’: the recovery is still not reaching everyone, many people are working in low-wage jobs and barely getting by, and the high costs of child care and healthcare are breaking people at all income levels,” Jacobs said. “There are a variety of policy changes lawmakers can make to help address this, including increasing the minimum wage, upholding healthcare and strengthening child care supports, passing a statewide earned sick leave law, and creating a fairer tax system that helps struggling workers as much as it does the wealthy.”

The League continues to connect the challenges facing Michigan kids and residents with the policy solutions to help them. To that end, Making Ends Meet outlines the following policy recommendations for lawmakers to better support their constituents:

  • Protect Michigan’s expansion of Medicaid and the federal Affordable Care Act as a whole;
  • Restore and strengthen the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit;
  • Update Michigan’s child care subsidy;
  • Raise the minimum wage;
  • Invest in skills training and adult education.
  • Enact workplace protections such as earned sick leave and predictable scheduling; and
  • Create a more adequate tax system, including a graduated income tax.

In this report, housing costs are based on the Fair Market Rent (the 40th percentile of rents in each county) provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Food expenses are from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Low-Cost Food Plan. Child care costs are based on the 2015 Cost of Care Report from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation and healthcare expenses are calculated using the federal healthcare marketplace exchange. Finally, costs for clothing, household necessities, personal care and telephone come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey and may vary depending on the family’s circumstances. Taxes are based on income and family size. For additional information, including data appendices and more details on how each of these expenses was calculated, go to www.mlpp.org/resources/making-ends-meet-in-michigan.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Support for “Heat and Eat” in House DHHS budget shows promise, but other unnecessary cuts disconcerting

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services budget (DHHS) passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee today. Unlike the Senate DHHS budget passed yesterday, the House budget included funding for the “Heat and Eat” program that will secure vital federal dollars while maintaining food assistance for 338,000 families in Michigan. However, the House DHHS budget includes unnecessary cuts from the governor’s budget—at the expense of children and families with low incomes—to pay for a reduction to the state income tax. The statement may be attributed to League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“Yesterday, we asserted that funding for the ‘Heat and Eat’ program should be a bipartisan issue, and today lawmakers in the House proved that it still is. We appreciate the efforts of House Republicans to leverage millions of federal dollars and extend food assistance to 338,000 kids, families, seniors and persons with disabilities, and hope their commitment can influence the Senate as budget negotiations continue.

“But aside from funding for ‘Heat and Eat’ and a modest increase in the clothing allowance, the House DHHS budget primarily does more harm than good. It includes significant reductions from the governor’s recommendations to pay for a state income tax cut that already failed once and a majority of the people of Michigan don’t want. Michigan residents understand the importance of quality state services, reliable public safety, safe roads and quality schools.  House leaders are jeopardizing these services in their current budget, but they will threaten them in perpetuity if they revisit an income tax cut.”

The League’s budget briefs have emphasized the impact cuts to state services have on our kids, our families and our quality of life—particularly in the DHHS budget. The League has worked closely on the “Heat and Eat” issue since it arose in 2014, and has been supportive of recent efforts to fix it.

The League has been vocal in opposition to any cut to the state income tax, and recent polling shows that a majority of Michiganians oppose a tax cut that will harm state services.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

On same day as Kids Count release, Senate passes DHHS budget that will harm kids and families

For Immediate Release
April 18, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services budget (DHHS) passed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee today. The budget included more than $100 million in cuts from the governor’s proposed budget, including eliminating funding for the “Heat and Eat” program that will reduce food assistance for 338,000 families in Michigan and jeopardize federal funding, and removing the proposed funding increase for the clothing allowance for kids in need. The statement may be attributed to League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“As passed today, this budget will potentially turn away millions of dollars in federal food assistance for children, families, seniors and persons with disabilities. We were gratified to see bipartisan support in the current budget year for reversing the cuts to food assistance for 338,000 families across the state, and we hope that renewed bipartisan support can help save it.

“Overall, the continued cuts to the state’s health and human services are worrisome. Today, we put out our annual Kids Count report on child well-being which found that too many Michigan kids and their parents are still struggling. These parents are working full-time or even multiple jobs, but are still barely getting by and rely on state services to survive. These programs help make sure a child has something to eat, clothing to keep them warm and dry, and access to a doctor when they’re sick. These are real needs that require real services and real funding, and today’s budget bill undermines these needs when it should be fixing them.”

The 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book was released by the Michigan League for Public Policy today outlining the ongoing struggles of many Michigan kids and their families, and the League’s budget briefs have also emphasized the impact cuts to state services have on our kids—particularly in the DHHS budget. The League has worked closely on the “Heat and Eat” issue since it arose in 2014, and has been supportive of recent efforts to fix it.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Historical and current public policies are causing wide disparities for kids by race, place and income

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Contact: Alex Rossman – arossman@mlpp.org  or
Alicia Guevara Warren – aliciagw@mlpp.org  517.487.5436

 

In its 25th year, 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book shows kids of color, families with low incomes face many barriers, kids’ challenges vary by community

LANSING—Historical and current public policies are adversely affecting Michigan kids’ ability to thrive and widening disparities in child well-being based on where a child lives, their race and ethnicity, and their family’s income, according to the 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book released today by the Michigan League for Public Policy.

According to the report, more than 1 in 5 (22 percent) Michigan children lived in poverty in 2015, a 15 percent rate increase since 2008, the last full year of the Great Recession. But the rates are significantly worse for kids of color, with 47 percent of African-American kids and 30 percent of Latino kids living in poverty compared to 15 percent for White kids in 2015. Nearly 28 percent of children in rural counties live in poverty, 24 percent in midsize counties and 22 percent in urban counties, although poverty increased at the highest rate for urban areas.

“No Michigan child should be experiencing poverty, hunger, abuse or neglect, regardless of where they are born and grow up, their race or ethnicity, or their family’s economic standing,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Just as past policies and practices have created these disparities, using a racial equity lens and a two-generation approach to develop policy solutions can help resolve them. In order to have a vibrant state for us all, lawmakers need to make sure all kids in Michigan thrive.”

Key data findings:

  • Working a full-time, minimum wage job leaves a parent with a family of three $1,657 below poverty each year;
  • Nearly 20 percent of mothers report smoking during pregnancy, with higher rates in rural communities;
  • 31 percent of mothers did not receive adequate prenatal care throughout their pregnancy;
  • Rate of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect rose by 30 percent from 2008; over 80 percent of incidents were due to neglect;
  • About 10 percent of children in Michigan are impacted by parental incarceration;
  • On average, monthly child care consumed 38 percent of 2016 minimum wage earnings; and
  • Nearly 17 percent of Michigan children live in high-poverty neighborhoods—but the rate is 55 percent for African-American kids and 29 percent for Latino children.

Key policy recommendations:

  • Promote comprehensive strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect, including the expansion of home visitation programs.
  • Ensure access to affordable, quality child care by raising eligibility levels for state child care subsidies and reforming the current system.
  • Increase funding for maternal smoking prevention and cessation programs and services.
  • Provide sufficient funding for early interventions to improve third-grade reading using a birth-to-eight framework.
  • “Raise the Age” of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old.

“The Michigan League for Public Policy has been fighting to protect Michigan kids since 1912, but child poverty is just as pressing now as it was then,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Too many Michigan families are working but barely making ends meet and are one financial emergency away from disaster. Simply having a job is not enough anymore, and we need stronger policies to support workers with low wages and their families.”

Since 1992, the Michigan League for Public Policy has been compiling and releasing the annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book to analyze and evaluate the well-being of children in the state. The 2017 book primarily compares data from 2008 to 2015 and analyzes 15 key indicators across four domains. The report also ranks 82 of the 83 counties for overall child well-being (Keweenaw County lacks sufficient data). The top three counties for child well-being are Ottawa (1st), Clinton (2nd) and Oakland (3rd) counties, with each of these counties moving up one rank from last year. The bottom three counties in 2017 are Oceana (80th), Iosco (81st) and Lake (82nd).

“As a doctor, I see firsthand how every element of a child’s family life and environment affects their health, and furthermore racial and economic inequities compound these challenges,” said Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, former Michigan surgeon general and senior vice president of community health & equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Henry Ford Health System. “This book presents child data in a compelling way and uses it to help policymakers, advocates and service providers understand the policy and programmatic needs to support happy, healthy lives for all kids.”

For additional information on the 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, including the full report, state, county and regional rankings, charts and images, resources for advocates, frequently asked questions and county-specific press releases for 82 counties, go to http://www.mlpp.org/kids-count/michigan-2/2017-kids-count-in-michigan-data-book.

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The Kids Count in Michigan project is part of a broad national effort to improve conditions for children and their families. Funding for the project is provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Frey Foundation, Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Battle Creek Community Foundation, and the Fetzer Institute. More state and local data are available at the Kids Count Data Center, www.datacenter.kidscount.org.

Kresge grant helps League redefine health policy work in Michigan and Detroit

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

$600,000 grant funded two new health policy analyst positions, helps League improve integration of state health and human services

LANSING—A $600,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation awarded to the Michigan League for Public Policy will help transform the League’s health policy work in Detroit and around the state. The funding enabled the League to hire two new health policy analysts, one focusing on Medicaid and the other specializing in the social determinants of health.

“These policy analysts provide valuable expertise regarding additional opportunities to integrate health and human services policies that will lead to great health and well-being for Michiganders,” said David Fukuzawa, managing director for The Kresge Foundation’s health and human services programs. “The League will serve as a valuable resource for Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services as the department continues to develop integrated services for the state.”

The funding from The Kresge Foundation will support the League’s research and analysis examining the current health and well-being of Detroiters and Michigan residents. The League will identify gaps in state services and support systems and create specific policy recommendations to address those gaps. This work by the League’s two new health policy analysts will advance public policy change by supporting the integration of health and human services and helping lawmakers, state department officials and service providers better understand the connection between health and other factors.

“The Kresge Foundation has been a longstanding supporter of our work at the League, but this significant grant will help take our health policy efforts to the next level,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “We work on a variety of issues to improve the physical and economic well-being of kids and families in Detroit and around the state, and we are seeing more and more how all of these issues connect. A child’s health is directly impacted by their environment, nutrition and family’s income, and their health affects their education and future occupations and earnings. We need comprehensive strategies to tackle all of these issues, and this grant will enable us to do that.”

The League’s health policy analysts will research and write reports, analyze current and proposed policy, and work with partners, department staff and policymakers on social determinants of health and Medicaid-related issues. Emily Schwarzkopf, the League’s health policy analyst working on Medicaid, has hit the ground running as the League and our partners work to protect the Affordable Care Act and the state’s Medicaid expansion program, the Healthy Michigan Plan. Health Policy Analyst Julie Cassidy will be working on the social determinants of health, a relatively new focus of health policy work that takes a holistic approach and incorporates other needs and services.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Major flaws exposed in U.S. House Republicans’ healthcare plan

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

League, federal analysis show that plan will eliminate health coverage for 24 million people, cut $880 billion from Medicaid and shift costs to state

LANSING—Congressional Republicans’ plans for Medicaid funding will hobble Michigan’s budget and jeopardize healthcare for at least 2.5 million state residents according to a new fact sheet, Medicaid block grants and per capita caps are bad for Michigan’s health, released by the Michigan League for Public Policy today. This analysis comes on the heels of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report this week that showed the House Republicans’ health plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will ultimately result in a drastic increase in the number of uninsured in the country and substantial cuts to federal Medicaid funding.

“The Affordable Care Act was a groundbreaking policy that significantly reduced the number of uninsured in Michigan and improved people’s health,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “On the other hand, the House Republicans’ alternative plan is an absolute disaster. It will result in 24 million people losing health insurance, cut $880 billion from Medicaid, and stifle state Medicaid funding through per capita caps. The only people who will benefit from it are wealthy individuals who will get tax breaks while our residents, our small business owners and our hospitals all suffer.”

The CBO estimates that the House Republican health plan would cause 24 million people nationwide to lose insurance coverage by 2026, including 14 million people next year. The plan will slash federal Medicaid spending by $880 billion and gives $600 billion in tax cuts primarily to the wealthiest Americans while raising premiums for millions of consumers. Additional analysis on the plan is available from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“The Affordable Care Act and the related Healthy Michigan Plan have been vital in reducing our state’s uninsured rate and have provided health coverage for millions of residents,” Jacobs said. “The governor supports the Healthy Michigan Plan and it was created with bipartisan support, but putting per capita caps on or block granting our state’s Medicaid funding will put this highly successful program at risk.”

The House Republicans’ current healthcare plan will put per capita caps on federal Medicaid funding for the states, giving Michigan and other states a fixed amount of money per Medicaid enrollee. Other Republican healthcare proposals have proposed distributing Medicaid funding through block grants where the federal government would send each state a specific amount of funding to support the entirety of the Medicaid program.

Using per capita caps or block grants to distribute federal Medicaid funding will limit the amount of federal funding that states receive, shifting costs and risk to states, hurting local economies, and putting quality coverage for seniors, people with disabilities and families with kids at risk. This shift could result in a significant financial strain on state budgets, forcing Michigan lawmakers to limit spending on Medicaid by reducing the number of people it covers or cutting other vital state programs including education, public safety or infrastructure.

The League has been a major supporter of the ACA since its inception, particularly the expansion of Medicaid through the Healthy Michigan Plan that currently insures 650,000 state residents with low incomes. The League put together a fact sheet on the ACA’s tangible benefits for Michigan residents, businesses, hospitals and our state economy.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

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