December 2017 | Report 398
In a Nutshell
- The Healthy Michigan Plan has led to health insurance coverage for more than 650,000 of Michigan’s citizens and has kept insurance premiums lower for others, improving the physical, mental and financial well-being of Michigan’s citizens. The program also improved the state’s economy by reducing uncompensated care among Michigan’s hospitals, and by supporting health sector job creation/retention, a healthier workforce, and increased federal spending in the state.
- The Medicaid program allows for substantial innovation, experimentation and variation at the state level, allowing states to be true “laboratories of democracy.” While new mechanisms like cost-sharing and Health Risk Assessments still need refinement, Michigan has begun to use the program to incentivize healthier lifestyles and responsible health care consumption. Michigan has also become a leader in using Medicaid to address the social determinants of health, an approach that can both improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare spending.
- The many gains of the Healthy Michigan Plan may be lost because of an imprecise and poorly designed cost versus savings policy mechanism tied to the program that ignores a wide range of program benefits. At present, the Healthy Michigan Plan will be terminated if the state incurs a single penny of net costs from the program.