Legislative action in the first quarter of 2023 has felt like a combination of a sprint and a marathon.
Full disclosure: I’m not a runner, so this analogy can’t hold, but I think we can all agree that the pace of legislation passed these past few months has been remarkable.
And more importantly, the law itself focuses on the people of Michigan, not wealthy corporations. from Increase in Earned Income Tax Credit for improvement Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act per Preventing gun violence In repealing an antiquated abortion ban, the Legislature focused on issues important to people at the heart of our state.
Now comes the next leg of the race as state budget talks ramp up.
We enter the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget under a complex landscape. federal The public health emergency is ending, but lives are still being disrupted by Covid-19 and other health threats. Unemployment remains low, but many people — especially women — who left the labor force during the pandemic have yet to return.
State revenues have recovered, but households are still struggling to make ends meet and meet rising costs due to inflation.
At the Michigan League for Public Policy, we’re always looking at our state budget for opportunities to improve access to the services Michigan people — children, workers and families — need and depend on.
Here’s how we can confirm FY 2024 Department of Health and Human Services budget Providing solutions and more positive health outcomes for Michiganders who are working hard to make ends meet.
We can support cost-effective policies that allow more children and pregnant women to access health care coverage. The FY 2024 budget should join 25 other states and adopt the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act. (ICHIA) option Allocates state matching funds to eliminate the five-year waiting period for legally present immigrants who are children and pregnant women. 3,000 to 4,000 children and thousands of adults who are otherwise eligible for these programs because of their immigration status.
We must too to confirm all Children enrolled in Medicaid have continuous eligibility. This will reduce the number of children who lose coverage at renewal due to temporary fluctuations in family income, confusion about requirements or lost paperwork in the mail.
We can improve access to affordable, quality health care in Michigan. League supports Govt. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for certain Medicaid services such as labs, anesthesia, and more. The League helps young adults up to age 26 benefit from the Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) program.
We can continue to advocate for reproductive health. The League supports the executive proposal to build on the success of the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative with funding to restore Plan First — a program that will increase access to affordable family planning services for low-income individuals — and for Centering Pregnancy (Group)-based prenatal care. care).
we can Provide additional support for essential local public health services. Michigan’s local public health departments protect communities from more than just infectious diseases like COVID-19, as they are mandated to provide seven essential services, including preventive care and environmental protection, among others. But they are extremely underfunded.
The FY 2024 budget is an opportunity to increase local public health fundingStrengthening the health department’s work to connect more families with affordable health insurance, prevent foodborne illness and more.
We can provide adequate, dedicated funding for lead poisoning investigation and response by local health departments (LHDs). Following federal funding cuts in budget year 2012, many LHDs in Michigan have had to postpone or discontinue elevated blood lead (EBL) investigations. Lead exposure is a serious problem across the state but the response varies based on the resources individual LHDs can harness together. A dedicated state-level revenue stream for local EBL investigations and other important lead response activities will address the patchwork and ensure that all children affected by lead receive the attention they deserve.
We can finance important investments in water quality and safety. The League supports the Governor’s recommendation to strengthen DHHS’s ability to address threats to water quality and also Supports community water systems in providing income-based assistance to residential customers at risk of losing service.
we can Establish a program to help low-income families become safer, healthier and more energy efficient. For struggling families, paying an affordable rent or mortgage often means living in an old home with outdated systems and structural issues that lead to energy wastage. In addition to improving housing stability, affordability and health, these investments will help the state achieve long-term goals set forth in the MI Healthy Climate Plan and grow Michigan’s workforce.
And we can support meaningful improvements to Michigan’s Basic Cash Assistance Program (Family Independence Program, or FIP) to help families and children living in deep poverty. Cash benefits have not been increased since 2008 and are so low that they cannot lift families out of poverty or meet basic needs. The FY 2024 budget provides us with an opportunity to do the first Meaningful Improvements to Michigan’s Cash Aid program for over a decade.
Let’s keep up the momentum of the last quarter race! We encourage all Michiganders Get involved in the state budget process and to advocate for these and other victories for the people of our state.
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