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Gathering Takes Aim at MI Health Care Costs, Energy Woes

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 By Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Contact
May 9, 2008

Lansing, MI – A diverse gathering of labor, education, healthcare, faith and environmental advocates will spend the weekend in Lansing working on solutions for some of Michigan's most difficult challenges. The Michigan Policy Summit will address the cost of healthcare, education policy, and the state's energy future.

Organizer Brandon White says the group's goal is to develop progressive solutions, particularly for the millions of Michigan residents who are uninsured or at risk of losing their current insurance.

"Healthcare costs have become a drag on the state's economy. This weekend, we'll look at the ballot initiative to create universal healthcare in Michigan, and then we'll look at reforms we need to be thinking about, such as controlling costs and ensuring all our children are covered."

Journalist and author Amy Goodman, the Summit's keynote speaker, says 2008 represents a turning point on the path to rebuilding Michigan and the rest of the country.

"When Michigan is healthy economically, it matters not only in the United States, but in other nations, because we are the most powerful country on earth. What happens here has a ripple effect all over the world."

White says, with gas prices and global warming continuing to be big news, energy issues will be an important topic of discussion during the weekend event.

"We're trying to understand the connection between these high gas prices, which are impacting our economy, and global warming. Also, we're looking at clean energy, which not only would positively impact our environment, but also would increase jobs."

Also at the event, the debate over education will include the topics of school funding and reducing class sizes to boost quality. The Michigan Policy Summit begins Saturday morning at the Lansing Center. Information is available online, at www.mipolicysummit.org.

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