The legislative motion taken within the first quarter of 2023 has felt like a mixture of a dash and a marathon.
Full disclosure: I’m not a runner, so it’s potential this analogy doesn’t maintain up, however I feel we are able to all agree that the tempo of laws handed in these previous few months has been extraordinary.
And extra importantly, the laws itself has centered Michigan’s individuals, not rich firms. From the increase to the Earned Earnings Tax Credit score to the enhancements to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to gun violence prevention to the repeal of an archaic abortion ban, the Legislature has targeted on the problems that matter to the individuals on the coronary heart of our state.
Now comes the subsequent leg of the race as state finances negotiations ramp up.
We’re coming into the Fiscal 12 months (FY) 2024 finances below a posh panorama. The federal public well being emergency is ending, however lives are nonetheless disrupted each day by COVID-19 and different well being threats. Unemployment stays low, however many individuals — particularly girls — who left the workforce in the course of the pandemic have but to return.
State revenues have recovered, however households are nonetheless struggling to make ends meet and canopy rising prices due partially to inflation.
On the Michigan League for Public Coverage, we at all times look to our state finances for the chance to enhance entry to the providers that Michigan individuals — children, employees, and households — want and depend on.
Right here’s how we are able to be sure the FY 2024 Division of Well being and Human Companies finances offers options and extra constructive well being outcomes for Michiganders who’re working onerous to make ends meet.
We will help cost-effective insurance policies that enable extra youngsters and pregnant individuals entry to well being care protection. The FY 2024 finances ought to be part of 25 different states and take up the Immigrant Kids’s Well being Enchancment Act (ICHIA) choice by appropriating state matching funds to remove the five-year ready interval for youngsters and pregnant people who find themselves lawfully current immigrants. There are 3,000 to 4,000 youngsters and 1000’s of adults who’re in any other case eligible for these packages save for his or her immigration standing.
We should additionally be sure all children enrolled in Medicaid have steady eligibility. This would cut back the variety of youngsters who lose protection at renewal resulting from non permanent fluctuations in household revenue, confusion over necessities or paperwork misplaced within the mail.
We will enhance entry to inexpensive, high quality well being care in Michigan. The League helps Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s finances proposal to extend Medicaid reimbursement charges for particular Medicaid providers akin to labs, anesthesia and extra. The League additionally helps permitting younger adults as much as age 26 to learn from the Kids’s Particular Well being Care Companies (CSHCS) program.
We will proceed help for reproductive well being. The League helps the chief proposal to construct on the success of the Wholesome Mothers, Wholesome Infants initiative, together with funding to revive Plan First — a program that might enhance entry to inexpensive household planning providers for people with decrease incomes — and for Centering Being pregnant (group-based prenatal care).
We will present further help for Important Native Public Well being Companies. Michigan’s native public well being departments defend communities from far more than infectious illnesses like COVID-19 alone, as they’re mandated to supply seven important providers together with preventative care and environmental security, amongst others. However they’re extraordinarily underfunded.
The FY 2024 finances is a chance to extend native public well being funding, bolstering the work of well being departments to attach extra households to inexpensive medical insurance, forestall foodborne sickness and extra.
We will present sufficient, devoted funding for lead poisoning investigations and response by native well being departments (LHDs). Following a federal funding slash in finances yr 2012, many LHDs in Michigan have needed to reduce or discontinue elevated blood lead (EBL) investigations. Lead publicity is a major problem all through the state however response varies primarily based on the assets particular person LHDs can cobble collectively. A devoted state-level income stream for native EBL investigations and different crucial lead response exercise would deal with the patchwork and be sure that all youngsters affected by lead obtain the eye they deserve.
We will fund crucial investments in water high quality and security. The League helps the governor’s suggestion to strengthen DHHS’ capacity to handle threats to water high quality, and in addition help group water programs in offering income-based help to residential clients liable to dropping service.
We will set up a program to assist make houses for households with low incomes safer, more healthy and extra power environment friendly. For struggling households, an inexpensive hire or mortgage cost usually means residing in an older dwelling with outdated programs and structural points that result in power waste. Along with enhancing housing stability, affordability, and well being, this funding would assist the state obtain its long-term targets specified by the MI Wholesome Local weather Plan and promote the expansion of Michigan’s workforce.
And we are able to help significant enhancements to Michigan’s fundamental money help program (Household Independence Program, or FIP) to assist households and youngsters residing in deep poverty. The money profit has not been raised since 2008 and is so low that it can not convey households out of poverty or cowl fundamental wants. The FY 2024 finances offers us the chance to make the primary significant enhancements to Michigan’s money help program in over a decade.
Let’s hold the momentum of final quarter’s race going! We encourage all Michiganders to turn into concerned within the state finances course of and to advocate for these and different wins for the individuals of our state.
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