Renaissance Praises Dillon for Courage and Creativity

Says Health Care Reform Proposal Could Be Part of State Budget Solution
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DETROIT, Mich., July 16, 2009 – Detroit Renaissance, a private, non-profit leadership organization dedicated to accelerating Michigan’s economic growth, today praised State House Speaker Andy Dillon for having the courage and creativity to propose a bold reform of the way State government and school districts manage health care benefits for employees.  The proposed statewide health insurance plan has the potential to bring public sector health care benefits in line with that of other workers and more effectively manage the hundreds of separate health care plans in place today.

“Michigan public employees have health care benefits that are richer than the average benefits package offered in the public sector and far richer than that enjoyed by private sector workers,” said Doug Rothwell, president of Detroit Renaissance.  “The plan Speaker Dillon proposed could be a win-win for state workers and taxpayers.  It could reduce the need for layoffs and draconian benefit cuts for state workers and significantly cut costs for taxpayers.  It’s hard to say exactly what the savings would be and there are many details to be worked out, but the Speaker should be credited with the political courage to offer one of the most dramatic reforms offered to date to address Michigan’s structural budget deficit.  This is truly structural reform.”

Studies by Detroit Renaissance show State of Michigan employees’ family health coverage costs are 23 percent higher than the national average.  State employees pay a lower percentage of their premium compared to the 19 percent national average.  Increasing state employee co-pays for health care to the public sector average and adjusting state employee premiums and premium contributions to the public sector average could save nearly $1.3 billion annually.

About Detroit Renaissance:
Detroit Renaissance provides leadership to accelerate the economic transformation of Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Renaissance accomplishes this work through serving as a catalyst to develop growth strategies, advocating for those strategies and championing specific initiatives that accelerate growth. A 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in 1970, Detroit Renaissance includes the chief executive officers of the region’s most significant employers and universities. For more information, visit www.detroitrenaissance.com.

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