News and analysis from The Center for Michigan • http://thecenterformichigan.net
©2015 Bridge Michigan. All Rights Reserved. • Join us online at http://bridgemi.com

Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2013/02/land-o-links-107/

4 February 2013

* Another hospital in Michigan says it won’t hire smokers. McLaren Greater Lansing calls the policy change a “‘no-brainer’ given McLaren’s mission to promote healthy lifestyles and save lives.”

And, dear smoker, lest you think you’ll just go work for yourself and get your own insurance plan, comes the news that, “The Affordable Care Act — “Obamacare” to its detractors — allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums starting next Jan. 1. For a 55-year-old smoker, the penalty could reach nearly $4,250 a year. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums.”

* Michigan has about 1,800 local governments in operation. It’s not unusual to hear those who work in them or study them to assert that such a number is not conducive to efficient delivery of public services. But “consolidation,” is it is known, is tricky political business. Some well-intentioned folks up in Onekama spent many, many months laying the groundwork for a vote to consolidate the village with the township. Voters declined.

Now Saugatuck and Douglas, communities on the north and south side of the harbor near the end of the Kalamazoo River, are giving consolidation a go. It will not happen without discourse – and discord.

* At first, this might appear to be an open-and-shut case. A city manager turns down a $1 million federal grant that would have allowed the city of Wyoming to hire six firefighters. And this in a city where firefighter staffing has been contentious. Off with his (metaphorical) head, say some irate citizens.

But read down a bit and questions emerge: The federal grant requires the city to pay the costs of newly hired firefighters for a third year. Does the city have the funds to do that?

A few months ago, Bridge reviewed the policy and political trends of firefighter staffing, including Wyoming’s. As the fire chief noted at the time, he’d like more firefighters, but there has to be money to pay for them – and local voters didn’t seem keen on the idea.

* Michigan spends about $2 billion a year on its Corrections Department. There are bipartisan leaders in state government who want that figure reduced, so that the public’s dollar can be spent elsewhere.

Squeezing savings out of the prison system is proving tricky for the Corrections Department. It was supposed to hire some retired guards to work part-time to help contain the department’s overtime spending on full-time officers. But, instead of saving $10 million this year through the plan, it may yield only $3 million.

* Somewhere in the middle – that’s where Michigan is geographically, and politically.

An analysis done by Gallup on the ideological cultures of individual states finds that Michigan is among the top 10 states for percentage of moderate residents.

No comment yet.Add mine!

Leave your comment...

Your email address will not be published.

Currently on Bridge

An Earth Day pitch: When you hang up the phone for good, toss it the right way

Michigan’s roads affect everyone, so a 'yes' vote on Proposal 1 makes sense

‘Diplomacy Begins Here’ conference aims to illuminate international relations

What NOT to post on Facebook: Jokes about prison rape, when you’re in charge of preventing prison rape

A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

Similar accounts in teen prison rape suit pose challenge to state's defense

‘New fish’ ‒ One teen inmate’s account of sexual assault

Early learning summit in June could impact Michigan’s children

Money Smart Week: Be penny wise, and pound savvier

Plan B or no Plan B, here’s what happens if road proposal fails

The political tale behind the selling of Proposal 1

A Bridge primer: Untangling the pothole promise of Proposal 1

Who supports, and opposes, Proposal 1

Let's rebuild Michigan through its greatest asset: its water

Could a public boarding school model work in Detroit?

Coalition supporting Detroit schools a step in the city’s road back

Chasing fads? Today’s schools are struggling too much for that

For one Michigan legislative staffer, an hour or two in the spotlight

A cull is a kill, and it’s an overreaction to deer ‘problem’

Lack of college guidance keeps poor and rural students from applying

Those who can, do – and get their hands ‘dirty’ in the process

For one Detroit mom, a complicated path to employment

Detroit by the numbers – the truth about poverty

Michigan should require dental screening for all children entering kindergarten

Where in the world is the Center for Michigan?

After two years, hard to call ACA anything but a success

Bridge’s Academic State Champs emphasizes all the wrong measurements

A graying population poses challenges for Up North counties

Up North, isolation impedes health care for seniors

Enbridge oil pipes and the Straits of Mackinac: Too risky to ignore

Not bigger government, but better services when Community Health and Human Services merge

Two Michigans gaze across a widening gap

In northern counties, workers and business find each other lacking

Hidden poverty stalks a Pure Michigan setting

Postcard: How a git-’er-done spirit helps one rural school district

Postcard: When elk is for dinner

Postcard: Luxe life at Bay Harbor reflects changing economy

Postcard: A roof and a bed

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.