Healthy Michigan Death Spiral

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

By Sen. Patrick Colbeck

7th Senate District


Health care is quite the topic of discussion nowadays…not only in DC but in Lansing as well.

The proponents of Healthy MI have come out of the woodwork to sing its praises as a success.

What makes it a success in their eyes? They believe it is a success because we have added over 650,000 Michigan residents to the list of those who are dependent upon government for their healthcare.

How can increasing the number of our citizens who are dependent upon government assistance be considered a success?

Success should be measured by how many people no longer need government assistance.

Success should be measured by how many people can have access to quality care because we lowered the cost of receiving that care.

That’s where our focus should be…lowering the cost of access to quality care.

Instead, what are we focused upon?

How the pending repeal of Obamcare in DC threatens the existence of Healthy MI.

I remember when some said that Healthy MI was not part of Obamacare.

Today, the threat of repealing Obamacare has suddenly become a threat to Healthy MI.  How would that be so if Healthy MI is not part of Obamacare?

Well, the truth is that Healthy MI is and always has been part of Obamacare.  In fact, it is Section 2001 of HR 3590 otherwise known as the Medicaid Expansion section of Obamacare.

Now the United States House of Representatives has introduced Obamacare repeal and replace legislation referred to as the American Health Care Act.

Proponents of Healthy MI would have you believe that the Medicaid provisions of American Health Care Act would be responsible for the demise of Healthy MI.

What they fail to mention is that Healthy MI is not so healthy after all.

In fact, Healthy MI is in a death spiral with or without the passage of the AHCA.

Subsection 27 of the Healthy MI act repeals the act once federal contributions fall below 100% and once it fails to yield savings.

Federal contributions fell to 97% this year and, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency, the projected “Savings” for the program disappear in 2020 as federal contributions fall to 90%.  The AHCA would drop the federal contributions to the FMAP rate of 65% in 2020 which simply exacerbates the problem already faced by Healthy MI.

These conditions are triggered WITH or WITHOUT the passage of the AHCA.

Healthy MI is automatically repealed WITH or WITHOUT the passage of the AHCA.

How should we be preparing for the repeal of Healthy MI?


#1 by telling the whole truth about Healthy MI

The first step in solving any problem is to admit that you have a problem.

It does us no good to blame DC for the pending demise of Healthy MI when it is already in a death spiral without DC taking any action

#2 promote health care models that expand access to health care without breaking the backs of taxpayers

We can expand access to care by lowering the cost of healthcare.  Direct Primary Care Services have been demonstrated to reduce the total cost of health care by more than 20%.  It does so by encouraging preventive care that keeps patients out of expensive hospital visits or expensive treatments for chronic illnesses.

In other words, we can lower the cost of health care while actually improving the quality of health care.

I know that this represents unconventional thinking in Lansing.  That is why I have proposed that we implement a small Direct Primary Care pilot of 2400 enrollees to prove my assertion.

Once we demonstrate that Direct Primary Care lowers the cost of health care by improving the quality, we can look at ways to offer this health care model to all 2.4 Million Medicaid enrollees.

As we do so, we will also be expanding access to this model for our remaining 7.6 Million citizens so that they too can have access to lower cost, higher quality health care as well.

Success should be measured by how many of our citizens no longer need government assistance not by how many receive government assistance.

If Michigan were to become ground zero in a free market health care revolution featuring lower cost, higher quality care such as that offered by Direct Primary Care, our economy would be growing so fast that less and less of our citizens would need government assistance.

Now that would be a success story worth talking about!

Sen. Patrick Colbeck represents the 7th Senate District, which encompasses the cities of Livonia, Northville, Plymouth and Wayne, as well as the townships of Canton, Northville and Plymouth.

Posted in Colbeck-Editorials.