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Michigan lawmakers unveil sweeping, bipartisan health care plan

Michigan Legislature
Posted at 10:30 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 22:33:38-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan lawmakers unveiled a sweeping, bipartisan plan to cut costs of health care for patients and increase accessibility.

“This is an opportunity to make real profound change for the people of this state, and to make Michigan the leader in the nation in health care reform,” Michigan House Speaker Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell said.

A group of state reps introduced the legislative package Wednesday, that among other things, would cap the monthly cost of insulin, expand telehealth services and cut out the prescription middleman.

(Click here to view the full list of reforms proposed in the plan)

Say your beloved grandmother goes to fill a script, and the assumption is that her insurance company decides what drugs are available to her but it's actually a middleman and the middleman gets kickbacks from drug manufacturers who say please offer my drug over someone else's. Grandma doesn't see those savings that goes back to the middleman and it's happened for too long,” state Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland said.

Calley says the plan will also shine a light on how drugs are priced and give people more options, so they don’t have to choose between paying bills or taking their medicine. A dilemma that’s becoming more common.

“We know from 2017 that 32% of Michiganders did not take their medicine as prescribed because they couldn't afford to do so. And when you look at things like insulin, that has a very serious and lasting impact that could lead to further problems,” Calley said.

Problems and concerns from constituents have pushed lawmakers to work together on finding a solution and they are confident these bills will garner enough support in the House to push forward.

"This package of bills is actually taking leaps forward and making health care more accessible, more affordable and improving the quality of care for all our residents. This transcends any political line or any partisan line. This is about putting our Michigan residents and our working families first,” state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud D-Dearborn said.

The Michigan Association of Health Plans says while they support a lot of what’s included in the 15 bills they are concerned that parts of the package would result in increased premiums and inhibit competition.

Click here to view the full list of reforms proposed in the plan.