March 22nd, 2009
02:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Granholm to Obama: Rein in health care costs

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gov. Granholm begged the Obama administration to help the manufacturing sector, which she called the backbone of the middle class in this country."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told President Barack Obama to ignore persistent Republican criticism that he is trying to do too much in a time of economic crisis and, instead, urged the new president to tackle the nation’s health care costs as part of a larger effort to get the economy back on track.

Watch: Granholm has some advice for Obama

“I think he should do it,” Granholm said when asked whether Obama should forge ahead with health care reform even if doing so meant more taxes or more deficit spending in the current tough economic times.

“It is part of the economy. If you look at the manufacturing sector, one of the huge costs on that sector is health care,” the governor said, noting the impact that health care costs are having on her state’s automotive industry. “It is part of the economic malaise that this country is feeling. So they need to fix that.”

In the wake of Obama’s efforts late last week to tamp down growing controversy over $165 milllion in bonuses paid to AIG employees, Granholm also highlighted a growing sense of a double standard in Michigan.

The governor of the state with a struggling manufacturing sector and the highest unemployment rate in the nation said “it is a huge unfairness” that AIG employees were allowed to keep their bonus contracts intact while auto workers in her state and others have been asked to renegotiate their contracts in an effort to help save Chrysler and General Motors.

“There is this impression of a complete disparity of the way people are being treated,” Granholm said. “When it comes to Wall Street . . . they can negotiate [a bailout] and they don’t have to give back. . . . The message that is received by the folks on the ground is that there is one standard for Wall Street and one standard for the average joe and that is not fair.”

And Granholm praised the president for trying to deal with the AIG bonus controversy. “So, it’s a good thing the Obama administration is trying to be much more consistent and saying ‘give those bonuses back.’”

In her interview with John King on CNN’s State of the Union, Granholm also pleaded for the administration’s help in keeping her state’s struggling industries afloat. “I just beg them, I ask them, please help to save this manufacturing sector because it is the backbone of the middle class in this country.”

Obama’s auto industry task force is currently reviewing the long-term turn around plans of the automakers that have taken billions in federal aid. The administration also recently announced $5 billion in aid to automakers’ suppliers who have also suffered during the downturn caused by the credit crunch.

Filed under: AIG • Auto Bailout • Health care • Obama administration • State of the Union
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Al

    Good advice. Especially I like: "to ignore persistent Republican criticism". Yes, Mr. President, ignore these extremists! Majority is with you.

    March 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Mike Soules

    What ever Washington does, don`t listen to Michigans Gov. She can`t run or do anything without trying for more control, and higher taxes. You can`t TAX A SOCIETY INTO PROSPERITY. Look at us in Michigan. GM should file chapter 11, and keep as much of government out of the private sector as possible. There hasn`t been ONE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM THAT`S WORKED!
    Obama is like an empty barrel, the more empty it is, the louder it gets, and still is empty.

    March 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. big papa

    The Governor is ABSOLUTELY correct!

    Healthcare costs are destroying business and consumers alike...

    ...We need single payer or Universal healthcare like NOW!

    ...any idiot can see that...

    ...oh well, I guess not...

    March 22, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. bk

    This from the woman who bankrupted Michigan.

    March 22, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. harry1

    Lets take a look at Medicare and how to fix that and Social security both of which will probably disappear in 20 years due to our governments mishandling. I am also offended when Obama states these are entitlements. If thats the case please stop stealing it from my paycheck Thank you!

    March 22, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. cdmertz

    Who in the world do you think you are young lady, you run the worst run state in the UNITED STATES and you have somthing to say?. You are the biggest joke there is for Gov. MY the way PAT C detroit graduation rate is 22% so your dream are nothing but a PIPE DREAM'S from a group of LIBERAL'S that DON'T pay taxes and WANT everyone ELSE to PAY for everthing.

    March 22, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Mark V

    HOW to rein costs? Elementary. First, eliminate the profit of the insurance companies from the equation, in other words, establish a single payer system. The insurance companies contribute zero to health care over what a single payer system would do.

    March 22, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. John

    Hey Republicans, there's a reason why you lost so badly in 2008...

    March 22, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Ray Fisher

    I am optimistic that the bank reregulation plan will be the catalyst to spur movement of the economy and thus allow the President to refocus upon his agenda to handle these issues.

    March 22, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Janet

    We just had a very sad example of Canadian (universal) health care with Natasha Richardson. Most experts agree that her life could have been saved had she been taken by medical helicopter to an appropriate trauma center after she complained of feeling ill in her hotel room.

    A Canadian EMT physician stated that Canada - unlike the U.S. - has very few such medivacs or trauma centers.

    Be careful what you wish for, folks.

    March 22, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Phil

    To the Democrats who keep saying, “We won” or “We are the majority”, you are right. You won the Oval Office by ~52% and you hold a slightly grater majority in the House & Senate.

    But if you think you will keep it by going down the ‘tax and spend’ road, then you are dead wrong and the USA will become another Zimbabwe.

    We are all Americans and we better start doing what is right for this country or there will not be an America for future generations.

    Our country cannot keep spending money we don’t have for programs we don’t need. Bonuses for millionaires is a crime, money for projects that serve no useful purpose is a crime, and politicians who vote for this junk are criminals.

    The last thing Obama should do is listen to this Governor from Michigan. She with her fellow Democrats have ruined this state. Michigan is at a financial point now where the USA could be in a few years. Both parties need to get a grip on this financial situation we are facing now or in 2010 none of them will be around.

    March 22, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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