Community Health Budgets Begin To Move With Alliance Priorities Intact

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance was notified today that both the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees for the Community Health budget plan on voting out their budget proposals to the full appropriations committee early the week of March 23rd.

The Alliance had previously testified in favor of reinstating funding for small and rural hospitals and certain programs associated with rural hospitals that had been removed from the Governor’s budget, as well as opposition to the Governor’s proposal to increase the Health Insurance Claims Assessment (HICA) on businesses.

On March 2nd, the Chamber Alliance government relations director Kent Wood was in front of the House appropriations subcommittee for the Department of Community Health (DCH). Wood joined a coalition of hospitals from northern Michigan in asking for the reinstatement of $36 million for the Small and Rural Hospital Access Pool, and roughly $11.2 million for the OB Stabilization Fund. View letter here: house-dch-approps-letter_march-2.pdf

A week later, the Alliance joined chambers and business groups from around the state in stating their opposition to the Governor’s proposed HICA tax increase.

Both messages seem to have found a chord with the House and Senate Community Health subcommittee chairs, as both have said they intend to move their budgets to the full appropriations committee with the funding for rural hospitals restored, and without the increase to HICA.

The Community Health budget still has a long way to go until completion, but this is a great first step in the process towards reinstating funding for northern Michigan hospitals and critical health care services.

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