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Health Care as a Civil Right Lawsuit

The State of Michigan declares, in Article 4, section 51, of its Constitution that the public health of the people of the state is a matter of “...primary public concern.” Yet we have seen the state take actions in the past that show that the state government does not take this “concern” very seriously. The State has closed down public hospitals in Detroit (Detroit General; Wayne County General; LaFayette Clinic; and the psychiatric wing of Herman Kieffer).

The State set up a Medicaid HMO system which is the most underfunded in the country. (That’s right, we are below Mississippi!!) The Hospital Association has said, since the HMO system was established in the mid-1990’s, that it is actuarially unsound. As a result hospitals which serve a high proportion of Medicaid patients are in trouble because they don’t get paid for their service even at Medicare rates. Three of the HMO’s have gone bankrupt and one hospital says it gthat only about 47% of the actual cost of their service is reimbursed.

The State agreed with the Federal government to provide protective services, called EPSDT, to 80% of the Medicaid eligible children in the state. Only about 40% have ever received those services.

There is supposed to be a statewide plan to provide “...adequate access to health care for all segments of the state’s population.” MCL 325.2001 and EO’s following it. Michigan Legal Services has asked for a copy of the plan and received a response from the Governor’s office that there is none. The Department of Community Health has sent the last plan, from 1991!

Because of all these problems, and others, MichUHCAN has agreed to be a plaintiff in a lawsuit to declare health care a civil right under the state’s Constitution. If your group is interested and did not attend on the 22nd call Marjorie Mitchell at (248) 477-7911 or Gary Benjamin at 313-964-4130 ext. 29 for more information.

We believe we can win this and get a court ordered plan to provide health care for all!!