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State Rep. Carrie Rheingans (D-Ann Arbor) is reintroducing a 2022 effort to create a publicly funded health care system for Michigan residents.
“The system that we have has been failing us. For years, we have heard from the healthcare industry that with multiple competing payers, the market will course correct whenever costs get too high or benefits are restricted. Year after year, we hear this, but we still haven’t seen it. We need a different way forward,” Rheingans said in a statement.
Rheingans’ bill, House Bill 4893, is identical to another bill introduced during the previous Republican-led legislature, House Bill 5966, which would create a publicly funded health system using a mix of private and public providers to offer comprehensive physical, dental and mental health care without deductibles, copays or premiums.
According to a statement from Rheingans’ office, 1.3 million Michiganders had a combined total of $800 million in medical debt last year. Rheingans’ office said this publicly funded system would save Michiganders money by cutting down on administrative costs and treating health care as a right rather than a for-profit industry.
Representatives from the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network, Michigan Single Payer Healthcare and the Michigan Nurses Association shared their support for the bill, which will be available to read online on July 18.
“Everyone deserves access to health care — and that means everyone, not just people who can afford it,” Jamie Brown, president of the Michigan Nurses Association, said in a statement. “Nurses see the heartbreaking cost of our broken system every day: Too many people of all ages are going without, or delaying, desperately needed health care. [This new system] will save lives and make Michigan a much healthier, stronger state.”
Over the summer, Rheingans plans to host a series of town halls across the state where Michigan residents can share their experiences with the health care system and what they would like to see in the future.
“I ran for this office to make universal health care a reality for Michiganders. I will not stop fighting for universal, affordable health care, even if it takes the rest of my time in the legislature,” Rheingans said.
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