Health Issues Missing From Governor Granholm’s State of the State Address

Governor Granholm used her final State of the State address on February 3 to urge lawmakers to make some last-minute fixes to state government, while trying to convince  residents that Michigan’s evolving high-technology economy is taking off.

As for fixes, she said she wants legislative leaders to work with her to pass the Fiscal Year 2011 budget by July 1, and that she wants to protect funding for education and tourism.  She also stated she wants to reinstate the Michigan Promise Scholarship that lawmakers carved out of this year’s budget, and she called for more revenue for roads so Michigan doesn’t lose $2 billion in federal funds.

Governor Granholm used much of her speech to build her legacy, sharing examples from across the state of how change is starting to happen.

“I find nothing but hope for the new Michigan on the other side,” Granholm said.

Gongwer News Service quoted Doug Rothwell, CEO of Business Leaders of Michigan, as saying that the legacy of Governor Granholm and the rest of those now serving in Lansing would be shaped more by how they spend their final year in office. Will they pass the government reform that is needed? Will they pass the changes in the tax structure that is needed?

“That will define the legacy of everybody who is serving,” Rothwell said. “This is the year that has to be seized upon. There’s such turnover, it’s naïve to think the people who succeed them will be able to hit the ground running. This group of leaders needs to do everything they can to act now.”

Unfortunately, in her speech and of interest to the Michigan Primary Care Association, there was absolutely no mention of anything related to health — not Medicaid, public health, mental health or any other health issue.  In fact, she said she would protect education from additional cuts to the base grants, thus leaving all other parts of the budget to absorb even more cuts.

Neither did she mention anything about the need to address the structural deficit, although she did indicate that her budget message, to be released next week, would address budget related issues and that she intentionally avoided that issue in her State of the State address.

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