$1.2 billion plan to utilize federal relief funding nears governor’s desk
The House has approved state Rep. Julie Calley’s plan to expand access to COVID treatments like monoclonal antibodies, ease worker shortages in the health care system and keep schools open for in-person learning.
The $1.2 billion supplemental budget plan, sponsored by Calley, is funded entirely by federal COVID relief dollars allocated to the state. It received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate today and will soon advance to the governor for her possible signature.
“The COVID pandemic continues to put pressure on our community health systems, schools and families,” said Calley, of Portland. “Thankfully, we’ve been using our federal COVID relief dollars responsibly and we still have these resources available to help our communities continue their recovery.”
Highlights of the plan include:
Early treatment in COVID cases: Treatments such as monoclonal antibodies often help lessen the severity of COVID cases and allow patients to recover more quickly. Studies suggest the drugs can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death for COVID-positive patients by up to 85 percent. Currently, delivery is bottlenecked at short-staffed hospitals – the House plan will expand delivery to eight additional sites across Michigan. It invests $175 million in buying and expanding delivery of the potential lifesaving drugs – and other medicines such as COVID treatment pills. Priority must be given to high-risk individuals, and treatments must be offered free of charge.
“Treatment options like monoclonal antibodies are saving lives, but they’re not yet readily available in every community,” Calley said. “Expanding access to these innovative treatments will help more residents recover without having to seek treatment at the hospital.”
Easing the health care worker shortage: With thousands of unfilled health care positions across the state, those still on the job are stretched too thin and need reinforcements. The House plan provides about $300 million for health care employee recruitment and retention and $114 million in additional support for nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Keeping students in school and protecting residents: An additional $150 million is provided for COVID testing, including funding for schools to buy COVID testing kits directly and allow the state to stockpile additional tests for schools. This is in addition to the roughly $6 billion the Legislature has previously appropriated for schools to address the pandemic.
About $367 million is provided for lab capacity, testing and other local efforts in Michigan communities, and additional support is offered for community services such as child welfare, respite care, and adult foster care.
Thank you for granting me this opportunity to serve you the last six years. You have inspired me with your strength, determination, collaboration, sincerity, and compassion. I have met so many fantastic servant leaders in Barry and Ionia counties. I appreciate your partnership, and I will benefit from your example for years to come.
Calley, of Portland, said the Open Meetings Act is frequently referenced by public bodies, the people who serve on them, and the public – yet it currently includes confusing language and complicated legal terminology that can inspire more questions instead of providing clear-cut answers. The solution Calley is offering rewrites the Open Meetings Act using plain language.
State Rep. Julie Calley, center, recently welcomed a Hastings family to the state Capitol, where they shadowed her as “Representatives for a Day.” Dr. Paul DeWitt and his wife Jennie won the opportunity through the 2020 fundraiser auction benefitting Green Gables Haven, a nonprofit organization in Hastings that serves people impacted by domestic violence. They were accompanied by their grandchildren, Christian and Lily Haire.