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SBAM Praises Governor’s Health and Wellness Message, Supports Market-Oriented Focus

September 15, 2011

The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) today praised the direction of Gov. Snyder’s health and wellness initiatives. “We appreciate his understanding that improving health and wellness will have an important positive impact on the cost of health care, which is one of the top problems facing small business owners,” says SBAM’s President and CEO Rob Fowler. “We look forward to working with the governor in implementing wellness in the small business community, where the return on investment is not as direct as it is for big firms.”
Fowler also says that the association supports the governor’s plan to begin reviewing the decades-old statutes and regulations governing the operation of Blue Cross and other insurance companies in the state. “This review is urgent because of the still-scheduled implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” he says. “We look forward to working with policymakers to modernize Michigan’s health insurance regulations to create jobs, help hold health insurance costs in check and move the economy forward.”
In regards to the MI Health Marketplace, Fowler says that “given the fact that Washington is saying that Michigan must implement its own exchange or one will be imposed, basically giving Michigan no choice in the matter, we think Gov. Snyder has it about right in his guiding principles. The governor deserves great credit for proposing a lean, market-oriented, non-bureaucratic vision for a competitive insurance marketplace. But we caution that it’s important that this project proceed in a deliberate fashion that does not destroy Michigan’s non-exchange insurance marketplace,” he says.
Finally, Fowler reiterates SBAM’s continued opposition to mandated benefits. “Due to the ERISA exemption enjoyed by big businesses, the entire cost of mandated benefits is foisted on small businesses and individuals. This has a detrimental impact on the small business economy while failing to fundamentally address the ongoing problem of the high cost of health insurance,” he says.
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