Health care could be the next Michigan industry to take a tumble, as hospitals anticipate caring for more uninsured patients in the wake of General Motor's bankruptcy and cuts to the state Medicaid program, the Detroit Free Press
reports. "Job seekers will notice fewer openings, as health systems, once a reliable source of employment and good benefits, cut their workforce. Patients may see longer waits, particularly in areas like imaging or surgery, hit by drops in business as people without insurance or higher co-pays postpone care," the Free Press reports. "Jack Weiner, CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, said as much as 7%-9% of his hospital's budget comes from services to autoworkers. Free care at the hospital is up; more people seek costly emergency department care; waits to see an obstetrician at the hospital's Mercy Place free clinic have stretched to six weeks, up from two, he said."
As losses to the country's top three automakers "trickle down" to other parts of Michigan's economy hospitals in the state are facing multi-million dollar losses, laying off staff – from surgeons to accountants – and, in one case, mowing lawns less often to cut costs. The paper says the "problems will worsen July 1, when the state cuts Medicaid payments to hospitals and other providers by 4% to balance its budget" (Anstett, 6/12).