Today, Michigan has a chance to act on Healthy Michigan, a plan that would expand health insurance coverage to half a million low-income, working Michiganders. The plan would cushion the blow of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- a law that will have costly impacts on our residents, businesses and health providers. Choosing not to act will not stop the ACA from impacting our state -- and many of those costs hit home on January 1, 2014, costing Michigan as much as $1.1 billion per year.
The Costs at Stake
The Essence of Time: Why Waiting Isn't An Option
- $1.2 million per month for Michigan citizens
The ACA mandates that people buy health insurance, pay a federal tax penalty, or seek exemption. Without Healthy Michigan, individuals between 100-133% of the federal poverty level could begin to accrue as much as $1.2 million per month in penalties if they don't secure coverage.
- $68 million per month for Michigan hospitals
Our hospitals stand to lose $68 million per month in payments that go toward reducing uncompensated care.
- $7 million per day for the State of Michigan
Michigan will lose roughly $7 million in federal funding every day if Healthy Michigan is not enacted by 1/1/14, all while our federal tax burden will remain the same. In other words, we have to pay federal taxes to help fund the ACA, and Healthy Michigan is our chance to benefit from those dollars. If we don't pass Healthy Michigan, we still have to pay those taxes, but we won't get anything for it -- and that will cost us $7 million per day in lost funding.
Aside from the costs, there are practical reasons why Healthy Michigan must be acted on quickly in order to make it possible to meet the January 1, 2014, deadline.
- Federal Regulatory Timelines: It will take a minimum of 120 days to get the necessary approval from the federal government for a new Section 1115 Waiver for our Healthy Michigan plan, and that does not include time to work through preliminary issues with HHS.
- IT System Changes: Changes have to be made to Michigan's IT system to determine who will be enrolled in Healthy Michigan. A delay in approval will set back development time by at least a month.
- HMO Capacity, Contracts and System Changes: The Department of Community Health needs to make contract changes to account for Healthy Michigan reforms, and private HMOs need time to work with provider networks to ensure adequate capacity for those enrolled, plus make changes to their IT systems to implement the reforms.
- Education, Outreach and Enrollment: Before Healthy Michigan takes effect, an effort has to be made to educate providers and consumers about changes in the law and to enroll individuals in the program.