‘Obamacare’ As Viewed Through The Eyes Of Michiganders
By Carol Cain
The Affordable Care Act was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 — and will find its way into people’s homes, businesses and communities in a matter of weeks.
The measure, also known as ‘Obamacare,’ is intended to lower healthcare costs and make it more available to people, including those with no insurance.
The measure has its share of fans and critics across Michigan as detailed in the CBS 62 “Eye on the Future” prime time TV special “The Health Care Act and You,” which airs 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Here are some thoughts on the Affordable Care Act:
Jody Carriere, co-owner Iconic Salon in Royal Oak, who is working 60-70 hours a week to support his wife and three children and can’t afford health insurance due to its cost.
“This (the ACA) is something that is needed. I can’t afford $1,200 a month which is what it would cost for a family of five. Under ACA, I am told by my insurance agent that it will be $4,500 a year. That’s better than $1,200 a month. But I don’t know what my deductible will be under the new plan and neither does my agent. There are a lot of questions about how it will work.
“I also know having the government involved in this and giving private industry some competition is a good thing that will help more people.”
Corey Tschannen, from Ada, a 24-year-old pharmacy student at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University: “It will be a good thing as it helps encourage young people to focus on preventative care now before it becomes a problem with higher costs later in life.”
Gene Michalski, president and CEO of Beaumont Health System: “Beaumont has always supported access to health insurance coverage for all Americans. We look forward to serving patients who have not previously had coverage to receive the health care that they need.
We have been preparing for health care reform for some time by focusing on cost management, quality improvement and streamlining our care delivery to increase our value for insurers and consumers. This will remain our focus as we wait to see how health reform will be paid for and its impact on our operations and finances.”
Tom Watkins, president and CEO of the Detroit Wayne County Community Health Authority, which helps over 70,000 people in the region: “Expanding healthcare, under the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, will clearly be beneficial to persons who are mentally ill and developmentally disabled– some of societies’ most vulnerable citizens.”
James Haveman, director of Michigan Department of Community Health: “We know that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but our state legislature has crafted a very Michigan focused plan to expand healthcare coverage to our residents who need it most.
The Healthy Michigan Plan not only strengthens our efforts around preventive, quality care, but it means Michigan will have a healthier, stronger workforce in our state which helps our economy to continue growing and becoming more robust. This plan truly is the right direction for the health of our residents, our economy, and our state as a whole.”
Jennifer Kluge, president and CEO, Michigan Business and Professional Association: “No one is really ready for the ACA as it is written. Currently the federal exchange which Michigan will be a part of is not able to function on its own and they have secured private partners/firms to help enroll individuals that would like to participate in the exchange. So the short answer is no, an exchange is not been fully developed nor has it been vetted out to get the kinks out in time for the October date. The federal government is having trouble implementing its own law in time for the deadline they set.”
Barbara Spreitzer-Berent, AARP Michigan, who is running seminars around the state to teach people about the ACA: “ Implementation of a major component of the ACA — the new health insurance marketplace — is proceeding at a rapid pace this fall. The marketplace will open in Michigan on October 1st. September, October and November will be busy months as people consider their health insurance options”
Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst, Mackinac Center, who has been focusing on the ACA for the Midland-based think tank: “If you like your current health care system’s dysfunctions and perverse incentives you’ll be able to keep them. Plus you get awesome new levels of bureaucratic complexity, trillions added to the national debt, and for most people, substantially higher insurance costs. The shame is, as a nation we could do so much better. “
Mark Hodesh, president, Downtown Home & Garden in Ann Arbor, believes the ACA will lower his costs : “Health care is an economic issue. Health care costs are holding America back from prosperity. I need well informed long term and contented employees. I want our people to buy into the American dream of good health, home ownership, a family and education for their children. My employees need health insurance to protect them and their dreams from being crushed under the debt from one unlucky weekend in the emergency ward. Health insurance gives them the security they need to invest in their futures. Making health insurance affordable to all will encourage all to invest in their lives and create a huge economic surge. I have not heard any viable alternative to Obamacare for lowering the cost of health care and making it available to all.”
Patrick Anderson, Anderson Economic Group, has written a book The Economics of Business Valuation about business and deals with the issue of uncertainty:
“The ACA will make it easier for people with intermittent jobs, or with low incomes, to get and retain health insurance. It will also cause a very large change in the health care market, with the federal government enforcing specific types of health insurance plans on providers, employers, and families. These were the key goals of Obama’s national health insurance policy, and of course they are also hotly debated issues for the American public.
But the ACA will also impose a very large burden on the economy, and disrupt many employment decisions. It is how much it costs in taxes and fines, how much of a burden it will place on employers, and whether or not they are going to refuse to hire people because of it, that has been the focus of our attention.
Dr. Ora Pescovitz, CEO of the University of Michigan Health System:
“Creating a better way to deliver health care, and reducing the burden of disease are two ways to cut costs and improve the health of our citizens. The Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction, but is likely not going to solve everything.”
Carole Chase, vice president, Chase Plastics in Clarkston, started the company in 1992 with husband, Kevin Chase: “Not only is this legislation harmful to our company and team members but it is harmful to our community and ultimately our economic recovery.”
Antonio Ayhllon, runs European Perfumes with his wife. The couple, who has two children, isn’t currently able to afford health insurance. Like millions they hope to have more affordable health insurance available under the ACA.
(Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Editor/Host of “The Health Care Act and You.” She also hosts “Michigan Matters” on CBS 62 (11:30 a.m. Sundays) and writes about politics and business in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)