Small Business Association Supports Healthy Michigan

Healthy Michigan -- the plan that would expand health care coverage to half a million low-income Michiganders -- would save money for Michigan businesses and give our state a competitive advantage. Those are two reasons why the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) believes the Michigan Senate should join in passing the plan.

“To miss this opportunity would be a shame for Michigan's employers and for Michigan's citizens,” said Rob Fowler, president of SBAM.

Last week, Fowler spoke at a press conference urging the Senate to take action on Healthy Michigan, which has already been passed by the House. He explained that by expanding coverage for the uninsured, the plan would help relieve the cost of uncompensated care, which falls in part on Michigan’s small businesses.

"Our members pay health insurance, and the cost shifting that goes on as a result of uncompensated care is one of the major drivers for the cost of health insurance for small business today," Fowler said.

In addition, Fowler says that Healthy Michigan could help Michigan employers avoid $50 to 80 million in penalties under the Affordable Care Act if they don’t offer health insurance. Under that law, some businesses could face fines of up to $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer that coverage by January 1, 2014.

Under Healthy Michigan, health care coverage will be expanded to workers who are in or near poverty (133 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit). With this plan in place, employees can enroll in Healthy Michigan and employers would not incur a penalty.

There’s one more reason Fowler says the Senate should pass Healthy Michigan. It’s all about competitiveness.

"What about the states who do pass Medicaid expansion? We believe that they'll have a competitive advantage as it relates to the cost of health insurance in their state,” Fowler said. “And certainly over a long period of time, that can be a significant difference in the cost of doing business here in Michigan relative to other states.”