Citizens Speak out in Support of Healthy Michigan

All across Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder is meeting with citizens who are speaking out in support of the Healthy Michigan plan to expand health care insurance to half a million working, low-income Michiganders.

The supporters come from different backgrounds, but they all agree on one thing -- Healthy Michigan is right for the State of Michigan. Here are some of their stories:

Marcia Perkins, self employed; breast cancer survivor

Breast cancer survivor Marcia Perkins explained that she has been self-employed for 35 years and made enough money to take care of her financial responsibilities, but not enough to pay out of pocket insurance costs. She received care through the Women's Health Network in Grand Rapids, which sufficed until she received some devastating news.

"In 2004, the bad news came. 'We're sorry, but you have breast cancer,'" she recalled hearing. "And I looked into my doctor's face and I said, 'But, but you know I don't have health insurance, what will I do?'"

Fortunately, Medicaid provided Marcia the care she needed, and that's why she supports Healthy Michigan.

"We need this Medicaid program to help folks like me who work hard, and we want to take care of ourselves and do well, but we need the help," she explained.

Small Business Owner Cynthia Kay

Cynthia Kay is a small business owner who is proud to have provided health care to her employees for 25 years. Unfortunately, health care costs for businesses like hers are skyrocketing, and she sees Healthy Michigan as the right solution to help control costs.

“Over ten years ago we were talking about this, we were talking about people not going to emergency rooms, about providing them a better way to get their health care,” Kay said. “Some ten years we're still here talking. I believe it’s time to get something done.”

Joe Jones of Grand Rapids Urban League Supports Healthy Michigan

Joe Jones of the Grand Rapids Urban League explained that his organization supports Healthy Michigan because of the positive impact it will have on communities that largely lack health insurance.

“Unfortunately when you consider the communities of color, the African-American, Latino communities, historically we sit on top of the list of health disparities,” Jones said, adding that community based organizations see the ill effects of poor health on a daily basis.

“The thought of not being able to access Medicaid really becomes a nightmare,” he added.

Disability Advocate Stan Roth

Stan Roth, a representative of Disability Advocates of Kent County, says that he and his organization support Healthy Michigan because of the positive impact it will have for those who rely on home health care workers.

Roth explained that because of the low wages home health care workers often receive, there is high turnover in the industry, leading to less reliable care for the disabled. Healthy Michigan will help stabilize the home health care industry, he explained, leading to a more positive result for patients.

“An indirect benefit from the Medicaid expansion here in Michigan will help caregivers helping people who are disabled,” Roth said. “And [it] will help reduce the cost of people being hospitalized more frequently because of poor care, or being forced to go to a nursing home where we pay skyrocketing costs and basically costs an enormous amount of money.”