Bridge Magazine looks at health care in Michigan

Feb 15, 2013

Bridge Magazine has a look at several health care related issues. That includes the loss of employer-sponsored coverage for over one-million state residents in the span of a decade. Bridge Correspondent Rick Haglund spoke with WMUK's Gordon Evans about what the loss of job-related coverage means in the state. 

Borgess Hospital - file photo
Credit WMUK

Haglund says Michigan has a long history of good benefits tied to jobs. He says strong union membership called for health care coverage. 

While the loss of jobs in the auto industry has led to much of the loss of employer-related coverage, Haglund says the rising cost of health insurance is also a factor. He says many employers, especially smaller employers have dropped coverage. Haglund says companies have also shifted much of the cost on to workers, and many of those employees have decided they can't afford insurance. 

The loss to employer-sponsored health care coverage has ripple effects on the economy. Haglund says people paying for their health insurance have less money to spend on other things. He says someone without health insurance is more likely to end up in the emergency room, and those costs are absorbed by the health care system and passed on to people who have insurance. 

Haglund's story in Bridge Magazine follows a couple from Rockford who had to go for years with health insurance. Haglund says Ken and Linda Brauer have been fortunate to avoid any major health related problems. But after Ken became eligible for Medicare, a heart ailment was discovered. Haglund says Linda Brauer  believes that the condition was there for many years, but probably not caught because the couple did not go for regular checkups. 

Governor Snyder has proposed taking advantage of Medicaid expansion, which is allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act. Haglund says many experts believe that would help address the problem by covering about 600,000 people who are currently uninsured. 

Bridge Magazine's other stories include how reforming Blue Cross could affect health care in Michigan. The online news service of the Center for Michigan also examines the obesity problem, and one woman's effort to shed over 100 pounds