MHA Executive Vice President Laura Appel joined U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and other healthcare advocates March 23 as part of a virtual press conference organized by Protect Our Care to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Appel emphasized the MHA’s long-standing support of the ACA and Michigan’s Medicaid expansion through the Healthy Michigan Plan, which provided millions of Americans with health insurance, provided access to care for millions of residents with preexisting conditions and saved billions of healthcare dollars. More than one million Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries are currently covered by Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program allowed by the ACA and more than 320,000 Michiganders receive coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace created by the ACA. Appel also referenced the $10 billion reduction in Medicare payments that Michigan hospitals committed to experience in order to ensure state residents have access to expanded health insurance coverage under the ACA.
Additional speakers during the press conference included Laura Bonnell, CEO of the Bonnell Foundation, and Sarah Stark, a Type 1 diabetic who benefitted from the original ACA expansion.
Media representatives from The Detroit News, WWJ Newsradio 950, WOOD TV8 and WLNS-TV joined the press conference.
WOOD TV8 published a story Dec. 12 on the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 183, which includes language allowing rural emergency hospital (REH) licensure in Michigan. The bill passed Dec. 6 with overwhelming support in both the State House and Senate following collaboration between the MHA, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Whitmer administration on making the necessary changes in state statute to allow for the new federal designation.
Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, spoke with WOOD TV8 on the bill and the challenges rural hospitals face which led to the creation of the federal REH designation. Appel discussed the high fixed costs associated with maintaining inpatient services and the financial reimbursement benefits offered to REHs.
“If your population goes down, your fixed costs don’t go down, but Medicare is going to continue to help you with those,” said Appel. “Regardless of where you are, if you’re a hospital in financial stress or if you’re a hospital that doesn’t want to become financially stressed … you have all of those things working in your favor.”
The MHA also received mentions in stories published Dec. 15, including one from Michigan Radio on the surge of respiratory illnesses being treated by Michigan’s pediatric hospitals and from Bridge on the increase of flu-related hospitalizations in the state.
Members with any questions regarding media requests should contact John Karasinski at the MHA.