By DARCIE MORAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — With health care reform falling into place, rural Michigan hospitals can now breath a sigh of relief, and then start a new waiting game. The slow recovery from the recession and the struggle for healthcare reform hit rural hospitals in Michigan, and across the country, hard, said Ethan Lipkind, CEO and president of Michigan Rural Healthcare Preservation and the Michigan Clinic. The first week of April marked the close of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act and the effective date of Medicaid expansion in Michigan. And with the economy starting to rise out of recession, Michigan rural hospitals are waiting to see just what the changes will mean. “Overall, I would say it’s a declining industry,” Lipkind said.
OLD TOWN LANSING — As the Affordable Care Act continues to evolve, local small business consider the benefits of implementing health care plans. The Affordable Care Act does not penalize businesses with 50 or fewer employees for not providing health coverage, according to HealthCare.gov. The goal is to give small businesses more affordable coverage options and tax credits, so more people have access to health insurance plans. Although many business owners in Old Town are aware of the new law’s possibilities, some said the benefits of health insurance cannot outweigh the cost because of limited staffing numbers. Craig Mitchell Smith Glass employs three full-time staff members and does not currently provide health insurance, but there is a possibility for this change in the future, said owner Craig Mitchell Smith. “As the business grows, so does its responsibilities,” said Smith.
LANSING TOWNSHIP – The U.S. federal government officially shut down at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday, Oct. 1, and although the effects are minimal in Lansing Township, local residents may want to be informed of what to expect. This shutdown, the first in 17 years, is the product of a disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over future spending for the new Affordable Care Act, new provisions of which went into effect the same day. Supervisor Kathy Rodgers said that most Lansing Township residents should not worry about the partial shutdown because it is unlikely to affect them directly. “There is nothing for us to prepare for,” Rodgers said.