ESD Brings Back Concept For Clean Economic Slate In Michigan

The Engineering Society of Detroit Tuesday presented its ideas for fixing health care in Michigan.

Essentially they involve going back to the drawing board — not just on health care, but on state government itself.

As they’ve proposed to fix other persistent economic ills, the ESD proposed a Green Economic Zone run by an authority into which companies could opt — and face a completely different regulatory climate for health care. That’s because under the ESD vision, the zone would have its own legal and regulatory system, exempt from existing state law (but not from state taxes).

For example, the Zone Authority could combine medical coverage into a unified system that included regular health insurance, auto insurance health coverage, disability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. ESD officials said that would dramatically lower the cost of claims and litigation.

Under the plan, the Zone Authority would “own” basic health insurance and offer medical insurance to its members — essentially a state-created exchange. Chris Webb, the ESD Institute’s co-director, said there would be a second layer of catastrophic coverage funded by federal block grants.

Webb and others in attendance at the meeting said the ideas were a good place to start a discussion of overhauling a currently unworkable system.

“Tax and other incentives are just not sustainable the way things are now,” Webb said. “We need a fundamental shift.”

Panelist Keith Cooley, CEO of Principia LLC, agreed that change is desperately needed in a health care payment system that has developed without planning.

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