State Legislation Introduced to Address Violence Against Healthcare Workers, Strengthen Healthy Michigan Plan and Expand Organ Donor Registration

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capitol buildingLegislation to increase the penalties for assaulting healthcare employees and volunteers was introduced in the state House of Representatives during the week of May 1. Additional legislation was introduced to remove unnecessary provisions of the Healthy Michigan Program, Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program. Additionally, the House Health Policy committee advanced MHA-supported legislation to provide more opportunities for individuals to sign up as organ donors.

House Bills (HB) 4520 and 4521, introduced by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden) and Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi), doubles the fines for assaulting a healthcare employee or volunteer while performing their official duties. The legislation was officially introduced and referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee.  The bills would require signage in hospital emergency rooms to deter potential assaults, which the MHA has made available to Michigan hospitals free of charge. The MHA supports the bills and will be encouraging the committee to take swift action to address rising cases of violence against healthcare workers.

House Bills (HB) 4495 and HB 4496, introduced by Rep. Will Snyder (D-Muskegon) and Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton County), would eliminate unnecessary provisions in the Healthy Michigan Plan and makes changes to help ensure its long-term success. The bills remove requirements that certain beneficiaries maintain health savings accounts and pay co-pays or deductibles. Additionally, the bill removes the provision that a future administration could repeal the program if state savings are reduced. The MHA supports the legislation to bolster the program that currently enrolls over one million Michigan residents. The bills were referred to the House Health Policy committee for consideration.

Legislation was advanced through the House Health and Tax Policy Committees to allow Michigan citizens to designate themselves as organ donors on state tax forms. Introduced by Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Twp), HBs 4362 through 4364 would provide for the question to be asked on tax forms starting in the 2023 tax year. The MHA is supportive of the legislation, which is led by Gift of Life Michigan, to reverse the declining growth in individuals signing up for the donor registry. Gift of Life Michigan testified in committee that states across the country are dealing with this trend, as the pandemic and online services have led to fewer trips to Secretary of State offices. The bills now advance to the full House for consideration.

Members with questions about state legislative action may contact Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA for more information.