Medicaid expands

As you know, the Lake Superior Community Partnership has been a strong supporter of Medicaid reform in Michigan. We were pleased to see the passage of House Bill 4714that is headed to Gov. Snyder’s desk for signature. A very special thank you to state Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, and state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, who supported the bill, doing what we believe is the right thing for Michiganders.

Taking a step back, here is what HB 4714 means to Michigan:

  • Coverage of 450,000 low income, uninsured Michigan adults, 12,000-16,000 of those in the Upper Peninsula.
  • Receipt of $2 billion a year from the federal government to pay for expansion.
  • A $1 billion savings to the state over a decade as federal appropriations will cover Medicaid services currently funded by state taxpayers .
  • Improved physical and mental health of Michigan citizens.
  • Protect large Michigan employers from financial penalties required under ACA.
  • Reduced health care costs for everyone long term.
  • Increased access to health care to head off potential illness and ER visits
  • Reduction of the $880 million of annual uncompensated care.

From an economic development perspective, one of businessestop concerns currently is the cost of health care. Controlling these costs and covering costs of uncompensated care that tends to be shifted upon those with healthcare will go a long way to addressing this concern.

A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. Employees that are able to receive appropriate and affordable healthcare can concentrate on wellness for themselves and their families. As an employer, physically and mentally healthy employees have lower absenteeism and higher productivity in the workplace.

And, of course, the growth of the healthcare industry needed to meet these increased demands means more jobs and investment in our community. Imagine needing to provide services for up to 16,000 more customers across the U.P. That means more direct and indirect economic benefit to be shared.

A second priority issue for business today is talent. We frequently hear from companies that they are unable to find truck drivers, welders, machinists, operators, engineers and the list goes on and on. In order to solve the current and future workforce needs, we all need to participate in the solution.

On Friday, the Upper Great Lakes Talent Summit will take place at the Island Convention Center in Harris.

Speakers include Eric Thomas, founder of a non-profit youth development and special event organization and Michael P. Flanagan, Superintendent of Public Schools. The afternoon will feature legislative breakout sessionswhere attendees will have the opportunity to discuss issues such as talent, education and hiring needs with their local legislator.

The full group will finish the day by prioritizing items from three sub-regional SWOT analyses so that the talent district members and all stakeholders across the region can set action items, timelines and measurements to address talent related issues throughout the following twelve months.

The LSCP is a proud sponsor of this important event. You can register by visiting our website,, under the latest news section.

For more information on immediate talent needs, visit our website and click “View Current U.P. Job Listings” at the bottom of the page. There you will find a current list of open jobs. Also, watch our facebook page as we highlight our partner’s job openings via our “Job of the Week” each Tuesday.

Editor’s note: Amy Clickner is CEO?of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.