Whitney Keenan Joins McCall Hamilton as Government Affairs Team Coordinator
McCall Hamilton welcomed our newest Team Member, Whitney Keenan, on October 9. As the Government Affairs Team Coordinator, Whitney will be providing substantial support to Megan Petzko-Sweet and Emily Henderson and our entire Government Affairs team.
Whitney comes to McCall Hamilton directly from the Michigan House of Representatives where she has served as a Constituent Relations Director and Interim Legislative Director. Whitney also brings with her direct patient care experience, working as a pediatric phlebotomist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and as an EMT across the state. Her combination of legislative and healthcare experience make her the perfect addition to our team!
Oral Chemotherapy Insurance Bill Passes in both the House and Senate
Representative Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills) was successful in passing her Oral Cancer Medication bill in both the House and Senate - legislation that advocates have been working on for years.
The Senate passed House Bill 4071 with 36 yes and 2 no votes, and the bill is now headed to Governor Whitmer’s desk for further consideration. Organizations like the Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology, American Cancer Society Action Network, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and many others were instrumental in final passage of the legislation.
Creating parity between oral chemotherapy and intravenous cancer treatments has been contested for over 15 years. Some argued against this bill as they feared premiums would increase for Michigan residents while only helping a small percentage of the population. However, Steckloff hopes that the bill will help cancer patients have a more accessible and affordable cancer treatment. The medication taken orally can help cancer patients by allowing them flexibility in where they are taking their medication instead of being at a hospital and receiving treatment for hours on end.
The bill would amend the Insurance Code so that oral chemotherapy would be covered at similar rates as intravenous cancer treatments. Oral cancer medication has often been underneath pharmacy insurance policies, causing the two different forms of treatment to be covered differently. The passage of the bill comes after the S1 substitute changed the Michigan Association of Health Plans’ opposition. The S1 substitute changed the minimum coverage for insurance companies to not have to change their insurance policy to $250 for a 30-day supply instead of the $150.
Automatic Voter Registration Passed in Michigan House
On October 4, Michigan’s House passed four bills that amend automatic voter registration. This package would help to increase Michigan’s voter registration even more as recent reports show that Michigan sits at the third highest state to vote, having 77% of the voting age population vote in the past election.
Representative Tsernoglou’s (D-East Lansing) Bill 4983 would automatically enroll eligible voters through their state identification application to vote. This would include a Michigan resident’s driver’s license. House bill 4984, 4985, 4986, sponsored by Representative Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids), Dievendorf (D-Lansing), and Wilson (D-Ypsilanti), makes it more clear how to decline automatic voter registration on state issued identification. Residents would receive a form that they can return to the Secretary of State if they wish to opt out of voting.
Some legislative members were not supportive of this bill package as they claim it would take more manpower in the clerk’s office because of the additional form within the driver’s license application. However, some clerks have come out in support of the bills saying it would help their election load. This bill also was opposed with concerns it could allow some non-eligible voters to be registered, although it was argued that this identification application would filter out the non-eligible voters.
Elder Abuse Task Force Bills Get First Hearing
A package of bills that have been finalized by the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Task Force (EATF) received their first hearing on Wednesday, September 27, in the House Judiciary Committee. The EATF, formed in 2019, has more than 100 members and 55 organizations organized to create access to training and information, as well as advocating for legislation to protect the elderly. The package of bills introduced are set to be a part of their initiatives to implement protections for the elderly.
House Bills 4909, 4910, 4911, 4912, and 5047 would amend several provisions in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC) as it pertains to guardians and conservators in Michigan. Notable changes include requiring professionals to be licensed and certified, establishing advisory and demonstrative bodies to handle certification and licensure, setting asset/income threshold for the appointment of a conservator, requiring visitation frequency, updating duties of a guardian ad litem for proceedings, and improving protections for those facing guardian/conservatorship as well as family members involved in the process.
Whitmer’s ‘You Can in Michigan’ Launches to Promote Michigan
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Governor Whitmer announced the “You Can in Michigan” campaign to advertise Michigan and showcase what makes Michigan an ideal place to live. The campaign will run states like California, Washington D.C., Ohio, Illinois, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
The campaign is made up of two parts. One will be a $20 million advertising campaign through commercials, radio, print placements, website, and social media. The other will showcase an all-inclusive website where people can look through Michigan jobs and education, living cost, and other resources. The campaign aims to try to reverse Michigan’s aging, stagnant population and encourage talent to settle in the state for the long term.
Whitmer’s Michigan Achievement Scholarship Shows Increased Enrollment
The Michigan Achievement Scholarship has proven its effectiveness after multiple Michigan universities report an increase in enrollment. Notable universities like Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, and more all saw an increases of as high as 25% in their incoming student body.
The scholarship awards students up to $27,500 for their four years of college. Governor Whitmer’s scholarship is part of her Sixty by 30 initiative to get 60% of adults to have a skill certificate by 2030.
MDHHS Recommends Three Vaccines this Flu Season
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recommending that Michigan residents get three respiratory virus vaccinations: flu, COVID-19, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Because of the high rates of spreading during this time of year, MDHHS is encouraging residents to protect themselves, especially for children, older adults, and immunocompromised people. Getting the vaccines helps protect those from influenza in one’s communities and helps prevent spread. The three vaccines can be taken at the same time and is often covered by insurance.
Capital Christmas Tree Chosen for 2023 Holiday Season
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) selected the official state Christmas tree for the 2023 holiday season.
Vic Ruppert from Presque Isle County is donating their 60-foot-tall spruce in honor of his wife who passed away, Shirley Ruppert. The tree will arrive in the Capital on October 28 and will be untied by the local Boy Scouts troops. The tree lighting will occur at the annual Sliver Bells event on November 17 at 7:30 p.m.