“We will never have the prosperity we had in the 90â€™s. The people of Michigan just have to learn to live with less.â€
â€“Richard Ball, debate with Mike Powers, September 2004
Note: This is the eleventh in a series on revitalizing Shiawassee County
Health care is one issue of common concern between employers and labor. Employers who want to offer this benefit often find it to be a more difficult expense to meet than the SBT.17 The uninsured who need health care for themselves and their families cannot find affordable insurance. Shiawassee County can distinguish itself by offering leadership on this important issue.
The residents of Shiawassee pay over $1.5 million to provide health insurance to our county employees.18 This is obscene, considering the plight of our residents and small businesses.
Shiawassee County must set a goal to make all residents eligible to purchase low cost insurance through a county provided plan. The county should not provide the insurance, but leverage its position as the largest unit of local government to negotiate rates on behalf of our citizens. Participation would be voluntary, but should be encouraged by the county. Such a program would make it easier for our residents to self-insure, and give our businesses more flexibility in their benefit programs. For example, an employer who does not bear the burden of providing health care might choose to partially offset the cost of an employeeâ€™s self-purchased insurance, offer supplemental benefits such as short-term disability and life insurance, or choose to pay a higher hourly wage.
Easing the health care burden is one step toward creating a healthier workforce and a more business friendly environment. It is a step that must be taken as soon as possible.
Next Time: Conclusion
182005 Shiawassee County Budget