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Michigan Health Care Reformers Kick Off Ballot Initiative Today

January 8, 2008

Lansing, MI – Michigan health care reformers are kicking off the Health Care for Michigan ballot initiative campaign today. It would constitutionally require the state legislature to find ways to make health insurance accessible and affordable for everyone.

Felicia Wasson with AARP Michigan, one of several groups supporting the initiative, says there's plenty of proof that the current system is broken; in fact, even those with coverage are just one illness away from financial ruin.

"Access to health coverage and affordability are imperative to make sure that people have a great quality of life and that their health care expenditures do not take over all of their life's expenses."

According to Wasson, more than one million people in Michigan don't have any health coverage, with thousands more joining the uninsured and "under-insured" ranks every day. She says the state's leaders have been slow to respond.

"Tough situations require tough deliberations. We want to ensure that those who make those decisions will at least be committed to get to the table."

If enough valid signatures are gathered, the Health Care for Michigan initiative will go on the ballot for voters to decide in November. Wasson says one poll shows that two-thirds of voters like the proposed initiative.

Opponents say the initiative intrudes on the free market rights of private insurance companies.

Several press conferences around the state will announce the campaign. One is at the Graduate Employee Organization office, 330 E. Liberty, Suite 3F, Ann Arbor.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MI