Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Protecting Michigan healthcare coverage, jobs
Goal: Help minimize cuts to Michigan’s Medicaid budget and jobs created through this healthcare coverage.
In 2006, the Governor and Legislature were poised to make drastic and painful cuts to the state’s Medicaid health insurance budget, which provides necessary coverage to vulnerable individuals.
Martin Waymire and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association conducted a 600-sample statewide survey of likely voters, which measured voters’ opinions and attitudes about additional Medicaid cuts, and found that voters overwhelmingly supported funding for Medicaid. In fact, only 2 percent (statistically none) supported cutting Medicaid first to help balance the state budget.
We also compiled statistics and commissioned studies quantifying the economic impact of healthcare in Michigan, including jobs created by Medicaid funding. The studies showed that with the constriction of Michigan’s auto industry in the years prior, healthcare had become the state’s largest single employer, with strong future job growth also certain.
Action Plan & Communication Overview:
Our strategic objectives were to put a human face on the cuts and demonstrate the damage done to Michigan’s economy by reducing health care jobs.
Tactics included news conferences with Medicaid patients, leaders of local chambers of commerce, physicians, public health officials and hospital representatives; press releases, editorial board visits, viewpoint columns and letters to the editor; monthly “Action Alerts” to mobilize hospital workers and auxiliary members to contact their legislators and the media via our website; the release of two studies which showed that healthcare is the largest source of jobs in the state, and that cutting Medicaid, in turn, cuts job; and the production of a video titled “The Face & Value of Medicaid in Michigan,” which put a human face on the impact of Medicaid cuts for legislators and the media.
The campaign helped to minimize cuts to the state’s Medicaid program and the record 1.5 million people it served (at the time):
- At the start of the budget debate in February, the Governor proposed about $125 million in total Medicaid cuts. The Legislature proposed up to $200 million in cuts.
- The final FY 2005-06 budget contained only $110 million in cuts.
- The final budget fully protected funding for hospitals to train future physicians, which faced a $6.8-million cut in the initial budget proposals.
To put the campaign’s success into perspective, total revenues for the entire FY 2006 state general fund budget increased $300 million from FY 2005. Medicaid spending for FY 2006 increased by $350 million from FY 2005. In other words, the Governor and Legislature dedicated all new revenues for FY 2006, and added $50 million more, to provide healthcare to Medicaid patients.