The state’s nonprofit sector is wide and diverse and the current debate regarding health care reform could affect all nonprofits. Nowhere is that more evident than with the nonprofit providers of health care. Michigan’s 144 community hospitals care for all patients who walk through their doors, regardless of their ability to pay. While every Michigan hospital is steadfastly committed to improving the health and well-being of their communities, more Michigan hospitals are unable to cover the cost of patient care. And as businesses and individuals struggle with rising health care costs, and more Americans lose insurance coverage, there is increasing discussion about a government solution.
While consensus is growing around models for coverage expansion and consumer protections, disagreements continue over the establishment of a government-sponsored insurance plan (public option), and how to pay for an expansion of health care coverage. Michigan hospitals have long supported expanded coverage for the uninsured and underinsured; however, a health care reform plan must include shared financial responsibility by individuals, providers, insurers, employers and government. As the state’s health care safety net, Michigan hospitals cannot sustain additional payment cuts.
Additionally, federal lawmakers should look to Michigan for examples of voluntary reforms that are well established and have produced measurable results as they continue to draft health reform legislation. The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality, the MHA Patient Safety Organization and the MI Hospital Inform price and quality transparency Web site exemplify successful programs that greatly improve patient safety and quality and reduce health care costs.
As the national reform debate continues, our state’s community hospitals look to the members of the U.S. Congress and President Obama to recognize the work currently under way by Michigan hospitals and support similar efforts to deliver needed and cost-saving changes.Submitted by guest blogger, David Seaman. David is the executive vice president of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and member of the Michigan Nonprofit Association Board of Directors.
*As a reminder, Michigan Nonprofit Association is working to help provide information on the health care reform issue. Please visit http://www.MNAonline.org/healthcare.asp to find state and legislative proposals, data and research, and media coverage relevant to nonprofits.