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MI governor takes on health reform

The Detroit News, September 16, 2011

Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled a sweeping health reform plan this week that includes a low-cost marketplace for health insurance, reforms for Blue Cross Blue Shield, coverage for autism treatment and a full-throttle charge to get Michiganians in shape. The governor's wish list also includes a ban on smoking on public beaches; initiatives to improve health for children, adults and seniors; an expansion of dental care for low-income children; and a launch of efforts to decrease infant mortality and teen pregnancies. Pediatricians will be asked to calculate -- and report to the state -- the body mass index of every child they see. The measure of weight and height is a major indicator of general health. Healthy Michiganians are essential to rebuilding a strong Michigan economy, and improving health will reduce costs to government, Snyder said. "The increasing cost of healthcare is one of the most significant economic challenges facing Michigan and the United States," Snyder said. Snyder also came out in favor of two Senate bills that would require insurance companies to pay for scientifically proven therapies to treat autism for children up to the age of 18 and a maximum of $50,000 a year.