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SBAM’s Fowler wins third annual Stephen J. Gools Award for Social Change

November 4, 2013

SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler has been named the winner of the 2013 Stephen J. Gools Award for Social Change sponsored by AARP Michigan.

The award is given annually to the individual, couple, group or non-profit organization that has significantly contributed to positive social change. SBAM and Fowler were key players in the passage of arguably the most important bill that made its way through the Michigan Legislature this year: The Healthy Michigan Act.

“Certainly, the case could be made that without Rob’s considerable commitment to this cause, the Healthy Michigan Act would not have passed and the half-million people in Michigan would be without health care for the foreseeable future,”  said Kim Gools, widow of former AARP Michigan State Director Stephen J. Gools, who passed away in 2011 after a career of distinguished public service.  The award bears his name. “I admire Rob greatly for his relentless devotion to passing this bill – one that he and Steve would have fought for side-by-side. I couldn’t be more pleased that he is the winner of this award.”

The Healthy Michigan Act extends Medicaid coverage to Michiganders at 133 percent of the poverty level. That includes 75,000 people, age 50 to 64, many of whom recently lost jobs and employer-provided health care and are struggling in lower-paying jobs that have no health care benefits.

Fowler commented: “I am profoundly honored and humbled to receive this award. First of all because the recognition came from AARP, one of the key partners in the passage of Healthy Michigan, but also because I considered Steve Gools a friend and peer. It is perhaps ironic that, well before passage of the Affordable Care Act, we came to know each other as we fought to cover the uninsured in Michigan.”

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