Currently one million people living in Michigan are without health insurance. But it's just a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 45 million Americans nationwide who lack coverage. Still, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health Janet Olszewski says something needs to change.
"It's tragic. Because they don't get the care they need early on. Then they end up getting treated in ER's and hospitals once they're very ill."
So the MDCH is working with the state government to provide a low cost health insurance program to roughly half of Michigan's uninsured. The plan, called Michigan First, is currently in the works but is expected to take effect next April.
Another issue the discussed at the meeting was the importance of keeping area health facilities up to date. Denny Litos, President and CEO of Ingham Regional Medical Center says about 10 to 15 percent of people commute to outlying hospitals.
"We're talking about how we can compete as a community with Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Flint, and Saginaw to keep our business here."
IRMC is currently under construction. A new 200,000 square foot heart and surgery tower is underway.