New boss, same as old boss: Calley’s insurance mandates (The Michigan View 11.29.10)

Posted by hpayne on November 29, 2010

Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to make Michigan more business friendly. He may want to tell his lieutenant governor.

Brian Calley raised some eyebrows this summer upon his appointment to be Snyder’s right-hand man when Lansing watchers recalled it was Calley who had co-authored the very Michigan Business Tax Frankenstein that Snyder had targeted as a centerpiece of his campaign. The Snyder team quickly assured his supporters that Calley’s MBT tryst was not love, but a necessary evil to end the disastrous budget shutdown.

But only days after the Snyder-Calley team has been swept into office, Calley is once again stepping on his governor’s pro-business message by making Granholm-esque insurance company-bashing a priority. Is this really how the The Nerd wants his administration to come out of the blocks?

Conservatives quickly jumped on Calley’s latest anti-business brickbat ” mandated autism coverage – with The Detroit News¬†editorializing that “one of the few competitive advantages Michigan has on health care costs is that it doesn’t have a lot of health insurance mandates – rules requiring that health insurance provide coverage or specific treatments for particular diseases or disorders that drive up coverage costs.”

In the midst of a decade-long recession, Michigan would seem ill-served by giving up any competitive advantage. But Calley has aggressively pressed his point with news interviews, a letter to The News, and now an appearance Monday morning on the Frank Beckmann Show with autism activist Steve Bockmann.

“So-called insurance ‘mandates’often elicit knee-jerk opposition, but I urge Michigan legislators to think beyond short-sighted responses. The opportunity to turn around the lives of children with autism is available, but it is out of reach for most Michigan families because the cost of treatment can reach $50,000 annually,” Calley ” who has a four-year-old with autism ”¬†wrote in The News. “Twenty-three states have already reformed their laws to cover autism. Now Michigan must step into the 21st century. Michigan must resist the status-quo mentality that leads some to reject autism insurance reform, especially when the fiscal and human benefits to the state would be so overwhelming.”

Government knows best? Everybody else does it? It’s the future? Where have we heard that before?

Yes, those are the guiding principles of the Jennifer Granholm – used to mandate, for example, renewables by Michigan utilities and drive up the cost of Michigan energy ” a program staunchly opposed by Snyder/Calley in the campaign.

Like Granholm and Big Utiltiy, Calley apparently believes Big Insurance doesn’t know its own business. “Autism is a complex condition and medicine’s understanding of it is rapidly changing,” says The News editorial. “A state coverage mandate introduces unknowns into the state insurance market, which is itself in flux because of changing federal law.”

There are a myriad of conditions that companies must study every day (here’s another one – dyslexia which afflicts my family) which is precisely why we have markets ” so that they can design policies that best suit their clients.

The Michigan and American electorates revolted against Know-it-all Democratic politicians who think they know better. Incredibly, one of the recipients of that revolt ” Republican Brian Calley ” seems not to have gotten the message.

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