Could a health care millage soon be up for a vote?
.61 mills, or about 50 bucks a year for the average homeowner.
That's what the Ingham Health Plan has asked county commissioners to put on the ballot.
Andy Schor, Ingham County Commissioner: “Its the beginning of a conversation.”
Commissioner Schor says the board is far from taking a position and personally he's not sure a health care millage is the right thing.
Schor: “They make a compelling case but we have to balance that against every other area that could also make a compelling case.”
While the Ingham County Health Department isn't taking sides, Health Officer Renee Canady admits there is a need for more health services.
Renee Canady, Ingham County Health Officer: “We certainly know as a community that we have persistent unmet needs. We have about 32 thousand residents of Ingham county that are uninsured.”
But Schor says before the discussion can move forward, the board needs answers.
Schor: “How many people it would cover? How much it would cost? What services it would fund? What does it look like compared to other millages? How will it affect other millages? Can it pass?”
But Canady says even discussing a health care millage is progress.
Canady: “I am certainly encouraged that we're willing to have a conversation regardless of where we land on the solution.”
As for the board, that decision will take some time.
Canady: “Ultimately our commissioners face a pretty challenging decision, they've got lots of political and lots of contextual things to take into consideration.”
Schor: “On the one hand I feel like its worthwhile for our citizenry, on the other hand there's a lot of other pressures that we have to balance that against.”
And its that balancing act that will likely keep commissioners debating into the summer.
Of the 32,000 Ingham County residents without health insurance, approximately 12,000 are covered by the Ingham Health Plan, leaving about 18,000 with no coverage at all.