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Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Lower Costs, Protect Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care for 1M+ Michiganders, and Other Legislation


July 19, 2023 



Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Lower Costs, Protect Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care for 1M+ Michiganders, and Other Legislation

The bills will protect the Healthy Michigan Plan, save taxpayer dollars, and increase access to health care


LANSING, Mich. – Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to protect the Healthy Michigan Plan and provide access to quality, affordable health care for more than one million Michiganders. 


“We know that access to quality, affordable health care improves health outcomes overall. This legislation will ensure Michiganders can continue to access affordable health insurance under the Healthy Michigan Plan and make it easier for them to get the care and treatment they need,” said Governor Whitmer. “Over the last few years, my administration has been focused on lowering health care costs and improving the well-being of every Michigander. We’ve signed bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs, protect Michiganders from surprise medical billing, and extended the Healthy Michigan Plan to more than one million Michiganders. Let’s keep working together to build a healthier Michigan where families can thrive.”


This legislation ensures the Healthy Michigan Plan can continue to operate and serve more Michiganders. The governor is lowering health care costs for Michiganders by signing these bills that allow MDHHS to incentivize healthy behaviors rather than enforcing barriers to maintaining health care coverage. Finally, Governor Whitmer signed a bill that allows pharmacists to continue to order and administer vaccines and laboratory tests under certain circumstances.


Additionally, the governor signed bills to update the organ donor registry, making Michigan the first state to allow individuals to indicate if they are willing to be an organ donor on their state income tax return.


Governor Whitmer signed House Bills 4495-4496, 4362-4364 and Senate Bills 219.


House Bill 4495 protects the Healthy Michigan Plan and healthcare for more than one million residents by preventing the program from being repealed based on operating costs. The bill cuts red tape and saves Michiganders time and money by eliminating unnecessary conditions and paperwork.


"These changes, now law, to the Healthy Michigan Plan improve healthcare and reduce red tape. Eliminating the automatic trigger removes the possibility of a catastrophic loss of coverage for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders,” said state Representative Will Snyder (D-Muskegon). “The changes may seem small, but they have a huge impact on those who rely on the Healthy Michigan Plan for insurance coverage."


House Bill 4496 repeals obsolete provisions and requirements.


“This bipartisan legislation improves access to health care for lower-income families and folks in rural communities, gets more people insured, and saves taxpayers money,” said state Representative Graham Filler (R-St. Johns).


House Bill 4362 aims to support Michiganders awaiting an organ donation by allowing individuals to indicate if they are willing to be an organ donor on their state income tax return.


“With almost 2,500 Michiganders waiting for a lifesaving organ and another 16,000 currently undergoing dialysis, the Check Your Heart Act could help save the lives of thousands of Michigan patients,” said state Representative Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Twp.)“By offering more opportunities to join the organ donor registry, this legislation will help to ensure that anyone who wants to become an organ donor has the ability to do so, by checking a box on their state tax forms. I believe that if we have the opportunity to save more lives, we should do exactly that. This legislation accomplishes that goal!”


House Bills 4363 and 4364 make corresponding changes to the public health code and Revenue Act.


“I am proud the Legislature passed this bill package and it is becoming law — these laws will save lives. I myself was fortunate enough to donate my kidney to my sister; however, not all people are fortunate enough to have a life-saving match. Individuals in desperate need of organ or tissue donation can wait years to secure the organ they need — that’s why it is so important to have a strong organ donor registry,” said state Representative Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint). “These bills will give Michigan residents another great opportunity to consider becoming an organ donor through the yearly income tax form, serving to build a strong and growing registry.”


“For every one person that signs up as an organ and tissue donor, 75 lives can be improved and 8 can be saved,” said state Representative Natalie Price (D-Berkley). “That is remarkable. There is a desperate need in Michigan for additional donors, and I thank Governor Whitmer for signing this commonsense legislation into law, which will make it that much easier for residents to sign up and help those in need of transplants.”


Senate Bill 219 aims to remove barriers to health care access by allowing pharmacists to continue to order and administer vaccines and laboratory tests under certain circumstances.


“During the pandemic, pharmacists were on the front line and we learned access to care and life-saving vaccines was critical to personal and public health,” said state Senator Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit). “We must continue to improve access to healthcare and services and allowing pharmacists to continue to provide critical vaccinations will provide better care across the state.”


Statements from Organizations

“The bipartisan, proactive actions taken by our state lawmakers to pass the Healthier Michigan Plan will save tax dollars and drive healthier outcomes for Michigan’s most vulnerable populations who experience barriers to getting the health care they need,” said Dominick Pallone, executive director of Michigan Association of Health Plans. “Our member health plans work to expand access to quality, affordable health care around Michigan. Since adopting the Healthy Michigan Plan nearly a decade ago, our uninsured and uncompensated care rates have significantly improved. This new legislation expands on the success of the original plan and makes changes and modernizations, like updating cost-sharing requirements and health risk assessments.”


“Healthcare is a critical step in a families’ journey toward self-sufficiency. Food is a crucial part of that journey as well. It was Hippocrates who first said, ‘let food be thy medicine,’” said Dr. Philip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “The Food Bank Council of Michigan supports HB 4495 and the administration’s effort to help create access for both care and food.”


“Ensuring Michiganders continue to have options for affordable, accessible care is vital to the health and wellness of our state,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan Health & Hospital Association. “As healthcare leaders in many of Michigan’s communities, hospitals are happy to work with legislators to lower costs for families, provide quality care for patients and support healthy behaviors for the more than one million Michiganders covered under the Healthy Michigan Plan. We thank Governor Whitmer for signing this important legislation.”


Governor Whitmer also signed Senate Bill 326 which aims to lower costs for businesses by amending the Use Tax Act to reflect the Secretary of State’s expected switch to electronic titling in October of 2023. The legislation ensures vehicles remain tax exempt for dealers until ownership is actually transferred to a customer.


“Automobile sales are a key driving force in Michigan’s economy and it’s vitally important to that industry that we ensure tax fairness. Senate Bill 326 clarifies that when a motor vehicle is purchased for resale by a new vehicle dealer it is not considered a taxable event if the vehicle is not registered in the name of the dealer before the resale or lease,” said state Senator Sam Singh (D-East Lansing).“The bill received overwhelmingly bi-partisan support and allows for the longstanding tax policy for automobiles to continue as the Secretary of State transitions to electronic titling. During a time of shrinking automobile inventories this new law will help dealers maintain a healthy inventory for Michigan’s auto buying consumers.”