Bill Could Take Away Health Benefits

By: Caroline Vandergriff Email
By: Caroline Vandergriff Email

Nancy English and her partner have been together for 17 years. They were legally married in California in 2008, a marriage that the state of Michigan does not recognize. English has been recieving her medical benefits from her partner, a full-time professor at Lansing Community College.

English suffers from arthritis, and she has had several surgeries over the past few years.

"To be honest, it's not getting better. It's getting worse. I definitely need insurance. There would be no way to get my surgeries done without insurance," said English.

But Nancy could lose her health benefits. The Michigan House approved a bill Thursday aimed to end the practice of extending benefits to a public employee's domestic partner. Unmarried partners, whether in a same-sex relationship or not, would no longer be elegible for health benefits.

"With this legislation, we're not only attacking our gay and transgender community," said Emily Dievendorf of Equality Michigan. "We're also attacking our unions, our universities, our public employees, and their families."

Supporters of the bill say it could save the state $8 billion in 2012. For English, it's not an issue of cost - it's an issue of equal rights.

"It says a lot to me about humanity," said English. "It's such an inhumane thing to take away someone's healthcare. That is just very striking, and very difficult."

The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote. Governor Snyder had no comment today about the legislation.

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 17, 2011 at 02:47 PM
    It covers all domestic partners including roommates of more than a year. and only takes one bill from a year ago to prove residency.
  • by Angie Location: Lansing on Sep 17, 2011 at 04:35 AM
    Boo-de-frickin'-hoo! I am SO tired of public employees thinking they deserve more than the rest of us. I can't afford the health insurance offered by my employer and haven't had it in nearly 10 years. My husband's employer's insurance covers him 100%, but it would be over $400 a month for my coverage through them (a week's pay). p.s. I ALSO have arthritis that is getting progresively worse. I eat ibuprophen and naproxen sodium like candy and get on with my day.
  • by Connie Location: Lansing on Sep 16, 2011 at 10:38 PM
    Yeah well I think it's wrong for a government to use religion as a reason to create any law, but especially a law that denies an American citizen such a basic civil right so I guess that makes us even. *I* certainly did not vote for such a thing and if you want to truly support marriage, outlaw divorce, not same sex marriages.
  • by Don Location: Central Mich on Sep 16, 2011 at 03:55 PM
    How dare you, think your rights supercide mine and tens of thousands like me. The Michigan voters spoke loudly in support of the marrage act, between a man and a woman, In response Our former (failure of a) govener (socialist) Grandholm, extended these benifits contrary to the peoples will. State employes need to figure out you are not an elite group requiring special treatment, but a service to the tax payers of Michigan who are sick of the cadilac cartel benifit package. Get your hands out of my pocket!!! I gave at the office so if you don't like it I am Quite sure California will welcome you home.
    • reply
      by Jason on Sep 18, 2011 at 10:18 PM in reply to Don
      Nicely put. Couldn't agree more.
  • by TERI on Sep 16, 2011 at 03:22 PM
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