Health Care Petition Drive Fails

June 27, 2008
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LANSING — The petition drive for a ballot initiative to make universal health care part of Michigan's constitution has fallen short, organizers said Friday.

Some 360,000 signatures were required by Tuesday, but Healthcare Ballot for Michigan, the group that spearheaded the effort, said only 125,000 had been collected as of Friday.

"The fight for affordable, quality health care is far from over even though the ballot campaign has ended," said John Freeman, a former Detroit-area lawmaker who headed the group."

He announced the formation of a new coalition, formed of organizations which had backed the ballot issue that would concentrate on health care access and affordability.

"We sensed that was going to be the outcome," said Robert Hughes, chairman of the health policy committee of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the ballot issue. He said tackling the problems of Michigan's 1 million uninsured residents was a laudable goal, but the proposal to make health insurance part of the state's constitution  "was deeply flawed and would actually make the situation worse."     

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