With the national election over and the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) continuing to take effect, The Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA) and its sister organization the Michigan Food and Beverage Association (MFBA) are calling on the State House of Representatives to both pass Senate Bill 693, which establishes a state-based exchange, and appropriate the $9.8 million federal planning grant that is critical to laying the groundwork for a health care exchange under the Act. The deadline for the insurance exchange application was extended to Dec. 14, but lawmakers must take action by Friday, Nov. 16 to inform the federal government of the state's intention to have a state exchange.
Jennifer Kluge, President and CEO of both organizations urged the State House to follow the Senate's lead in passing two pieces of critical legislation: Senate Bill 693 and accepting the federal grant monies to set up a Michigan-run exchange.
"We need to act now so that Michigan will not be forced into a mandated federal exchange program, losing the opportunity for local control. We know that health care is the top concern for our Association members and we feel it's very important for Michigan to retain as much power as possible over what happens with our health care," said Kluge. "We appreciate Governor Snyder's lead on encouraging the legislature to move forward with this. We hope that our state lawmakers see the benefit of keeping as much control over the exchange as possible."
Kluge emphasized there are many pros to authorizing the state exchange, including maintaining local control and quality of products and service; creating a positive impact on the local economy; working with local insurance brokers; and using funds provided by the federal government. She noted, "The most damaging effect of not incorporating a state-based exchange is relinquishing authority over what's best for Michigan's health care market. We lose control over products and service since the federal government will select and promote products and carriers."
Bonnie Bochniak, vice president of government relations for MBPA and MFBA added, "We now have the power to make two significant changes in Michigan. First, is to pass Senate Bill 693 in the House, so that we are able to establish a state-based exchange in Michigan, giving us the maximum decision-making power over our health care. And second, to accept the $9.8 million in federal grant dollars, which will tremendously help us lay the groundwork for the Internet-based site that must be functioning for consumer use by Jan. 1, 2014."
Based in Warren, Mich., the MBPA is the largest business organization of small to medium-sized businesses in Michigan, representing more than 20,000 members who employ over 160,0000 persons. Members include attorneys, physicians, architects, accountants, construction companies, banks, retail, wholesalers, manufacturers and the like. Member businesses receive numerous benefits including free legal and financial consultations; discounted technology, automotive and office products; employee training and recruitment assistance; and competitive group insurance rates. The MBPA is a sister association to the Michigan Food & Beverage Association (MFBA).