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Posted on Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 11:07 a.m.

U-M to host panel of Massachusetts experts giving health care reform advice to Michigan businesses

By Amy Biolchini

Editor's note: This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. Monday with a link to the live webcast.

Business leaders from Massachusetts will offer lessons they’ve learned from the implementation of health care reforms to Michigan employers Monday during a forum at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.


Thomas Buchmueller

Courtesy of U-M

The panel discussion will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Auditorium at 1130 Weill Hall at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, at 735 South State St. in Ann Arbor. The event is open to the public and also will be webcast live online.

As Michigan businesses prepare to encounter changes in health care requirements for their employees throughout this year and next year under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, U-M’s Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT) decided to call in business leaders from Massachusetts for their advice.

Health care reform took place in Massachusetts in 2006 -- several years before President Barack Obama passed the Affordable Care Act, which first took effect in 2010.

“We and business leaders can learn a lot from what can happen in Massachusetts,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the CHRT. “Our goal is to help decision makers using facts.”

The panel will consist of Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan; Helen Levy, research associate professor at U-M’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Rick Lord, president and CEP of Associated Industries of Massachusetts; and Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

The moderator of the panel will be Thomas Buchmueller, a professor at U-M’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. In October, health insurance exchanges will begin enrolling small businesses and individuals and in January, a large wave of Medicaid enrollments will go through.

“Businesses will soon decide what they want to do,” Udow-Phillips said.

In Michigan, the government decided to partner with the federal government in the creation of a health insurance exchange.

The event is sponsored by Community Catalysts of Boston and a number of U-M entities including the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and U-M’s School of Public Health.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

It does not appear that RomneyCare had an adverse effect on employment in Mass. Since it's inception in 2006 Mass has had an unemployment rate at or below national average. December 2012 Mass had an unemployment rate of 6.2%, vs 7.8% nationally. "I think it has been a huge success," says Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "I have not seen any evidence at all that healthcare reform has hurt state businesses." "Today, we spend approximately $1 billion on the medical cost for the uninsured. It is fair to ask all residents to purchase health insurance or have the means to pay for their own care. This personal responsibility principle means that individuals should not expect society to pay for their medical costs if they forego affordable health insurance options."- GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

I've added a link to the live webcast, which should lead you to the Ford School of Public Policy's website. The link wasn't immediately available when I wrote the story Friday.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Can you please share the call in information so I can listen/watch on line? Sounds interesting. Thanks


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:01 a.m.

"That which is not forbidden is mandatory". – (George Orwell's "1984") "If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost". – Barack Obama M.D (Most Disappointing) Well, there goes the "trust" part. ;-)

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

Thanks Obama! No, seriously. Thanks. The system is in deperate need of reform and the AHCA is a start - regardless of what those on the take from the insurance companies may blather.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

TRU, make sure you never have to read a transnational business contract or the entire Harry Potter series!

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

You apparently don't know the details of the law. That part where insurance companies must spend 80-85% of premiums actually deliverying care? That's very good. The part about not denying people who have pre-existing conditions? Excellent. Nobody should work their whole life and then not have insurance because they lost their job. And insuring young adults who are stuck at home because they can't find jobs? Pretty good there, too. And the state level exchanges to lower rates? Also excellent. But keep the Fox spin coming.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

It's a lil' early to be thankin' Dr. Obama. Any law that has more pages than a Tolstoy novel takes some time to "feel" at the street level. By that time, it's way too late to do anything but suffer the consequences since it will take decades to reform the reform.


Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

The consultants are loving Obamacare................the rest of us won't.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Rick Stevens - Here's some reading for starters: Clown - if gas prices doubling in the last four years is not over 15% inflation you need to take a math class. There are many who pay 50% of their income in taxes, obviously you are not one of them..............


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

So far I like it just fine. I continue to use the same physicians I have used in the past, I have not been pushed into "government run" hospitals or clinics, I have not seen a death panel yet. So far the naysayers projections of doom have failed to come to pass...kind of like the mushroom cloud of Iraqi nukes or the doom of the government taking my guns or the $5/gal gasoline or the 15% inflation or the 50% tax rate many of the doom sayers projected. (Maybe if the GOP governor gets his way we will see $5 gas in Michigan soon, though. We can then blame Obama for high gas taxes)

Rick Stevens

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:26 a.m.

Could you cite a fact or something specific that you don't like? For many, many people (esp. those who can't get insurance due to pre-existing conditions) AHCA is a lifeline. With close to 50 million uninsured Americans it also helps low income people (mostly working but who are not offered any health benefits) and doesn't allow insurance companies to drop you if you're sick or have a pre-existing illness. Funny but the rightwing Heritage Institute liked the ideas behind PPAC until a Democrat made them law. And Mitt Romney created pretty much the same system in Massachusetts before he had to deny everything to please the Tea Party.


Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 5 p.m.

Summary: health care reform is designed to funnel even more money from productive workers into the Medical Industrial Complex bureaucracy and increase dependency on the government which pretends to pay for it all. Don't think about sourcing healthy nutrient-dense food from local family farmers because our bureaucratic overlords are working hard to drive them out of business. Be a good sheep and eat your "heart healthy" whole grain, low fat, artificially flavored industrial slop. Big Brother loves you.


Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

You need to learn your catechism. Here's a paraphrased 'The Collier's Catechisme' to help you learn. "What do you believe?" "I believe what the UM, experts and politicians believe." "And what do the UM, experts and politicians believe?" "The UM, experts and politicians believe what I believe." "And what do you both believe?" "The same thing."