Family Medicine Advocacy Gearing Up for Busy Start to New Legislative Session

Jan. 4, 2023 - To kick off the 2023-2024 legislative session, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was inaugurated on Jan. 1. The inauguration event, held on the Capitol steps in downtown Lansing, also included swearing-in of the Michigan Supreme Court, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and other statewide officials.

During her inauguration speech, Gov. Whitmer hinted at her upcoming policy priorities, namely taking action on climate change and common-sense gun reforms and helping working families with the rising costs of goods and services. Details of her priorities will be outlined in her upcoming State of the State Address and Executive Budget presentation.

What's Next

Jan. 11 marks the first session day of the 2023-2024 Michigan Legislature. While full committee assignments have not yet been released, the chairs of the Appropriations Committee in the House and Senate have been assigned. Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) and Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) will serve in these roles.

Then, on Jan. 25, Gov. Whitmer will deliver her fifth State of the State address. For the first time since 2020 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the address will be held in person before a joint session of the House and Senate at the Capitol. MAFP is proud to once again co-sponsor WKAR’s live broadcast of the address on public television and radio across the state.

The date of Gov. Whitmer's Executive Budget presentation is yet to be announced but expected for early February. This will outline her spending priorities and kick off the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 state budget process. "This will give MAFP a starting point for working its priorities into the state spending plan," said Matt Black, MAFP's director of government relations.

In 2022, MAFP was successful in securing funding in the state's Fiscal Year 2023 budget (which kicked off on Oct. 1, 2022) to support an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates, up to 95% of Medicare reimbursement rates, for certain primary care services. This was a big win, for which MAFP and family medicine advocates have been working for quite some time.

Due to the diligent advocacy work of MAFP and members, the FY 2023 state budget also invests in other MAFP priorities, namely healthcare workforce programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of primary care physicians in our state, enhancing quality of care, improving health outcomes, and reducing healthcare costs.

"While these achievements are extraordinary, they represent only a fraction of the successes that MAFP's hard work achieved for the family medicine community during 2022. We look forward to an even more ambitious new year as we collaborate with you to strenghten family physicians' prominence as the bulwark of better health for Michiganders and communities across the state," said MAFP Chief Executive Officer Karlene Ketola, MSA, CAE.

MAFP's Advocacy Priorities

As Matt wrote in his Advocacy Update article published in the winter 2022-2023 issue of Michigan Family Physician:

"It is likely that a flurry of new bills will be introduced in January, as legislators and each chamber and caucus start work on advancing their priorities. As these bills are introduced, we will begin to see the expected focus for the new two-year legislative term.

While this doesn't change MAFP's legislative priorities, we must adjust our strategies to reflect the new majority and the Democrat caucus priorities. Bills that pass the Michigan Legislature typically receive large bipartisan support; therefore, MAFP works with both parties to gather support for our priorities. In 2023, we will again focus on issues under the umbrellas of increasing access to care for all, reducing administrative burdens, protecting the patient-centered physician-led healthcare team, and preserving public health."

Register for Advocacy Day

Stay tuned for details of MAFP's 2023-2024 advocacy priorities. They will be the basis of discussions between members and legislative offices during Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day on March 22 in downtown Lansing. As the new legislative cycle kicks off, this year's Advocacy Day is especially important for educating new and returning lawmakers about the value of family medicine and issues impacting primary care delivery and patients in communities across the state. Click here to register for Advocacy Day - there is no cost to attend this member-exclusive event.