March 22nd, 2009
02:30 PM ET
14 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. jp,michigan

    Obama needs to rein in the cost of medication, we go to Canada to get our medication and the Canadians come to Michigan for health care. Pharmaceutical companies charge American outrageous amount for the same medication you find in Canada cheaper. This is a good way to start cutting back on some medical costs. If we have the same health care (universal coverage) Canadians have, we all will have to supplement it with private insurance , for we won't get help in Canada, the way Canadains get help in the USA.

    March 22, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Eyitayo Onifade

    Smart woman. It's unfortunate that Michigan doesn't have any quick fixes that will turn the state around in the short-term. The state is simply too dependent on manufacturing period. They have to attract different types of businesses or take the lead in the energy sector, either manufacturing fuel cells for cars or pioneering the implementation of large scale commercial "green" energy production.

    Because cutting health care costs on the supply side won't change the fact that there isn't any demand for the products the state is producing.

    March 22, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Wow

    Businesses, local, and state governments are trying to be responsible and rein in costs. Obama is spending $ like it grows on trees (and he is actually printing it like that.) There is absolutely no way a huge government entitlement like health care should go forward. There is NO PLAN, RULES, or OVERSIGHT developed yet Obama just wants a BILLION $ BLANK CHECK. Where will the money come from? Print more.

    Anyone have an idea how high inflation will get when the economy does turn around? One economist suggested that in 5 years we should see TRIPLE DIGIT INFLATION because of the cash that we printed. That's 100% inflation. Anyone forsee doubling your income in the next five years.


    March 22, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Andy in Texas

    When Obama talks down the economy, he's criticized. When the GOP does it, it's laudable.

    March 22, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. bill

    She destroyed Michigan.

    March 22, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. JJ in NY

    Of course she wants it.....
    Another incompetant liberal governor who wants the Fed to bail them out .

    March 22, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. sorry,I dont get paid to post

    Shes absolutely correct,it will level the international playing field.The international companies dont have to give their workers medical care,its already there.

    March 22, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. CarolineC

    First, cutting health care costs begins with providing insurance and/or clinics that keep people from using the Emergency Room as their primary care provider. Second, screenings – particularly for women – should ALL be done at the same place and, if possible, on the same day. Third, patients should not be treated like idiots. If you call your doctor with pain in your ears and throat, barely able to speak, making you come in for a prescription risks the health of both the patient and everyone else in the waiting room. These are people that could easily be seen at their nearest drugstore.

    Finally, it is far more cost-effective to do all tests quickly than to drag out a diagnosis for weeks and weeks.

    This is not about cutting out important services, it is about putting them in one place and not making patients go to their primary care physician (For a referral) and then to a specialist (For a referral) and then to a radiologist and then to an orthopedic surgeon – all for an obvious broken bone. Stop one should be an x-ray.

    March 22, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. podo3500

    America, does not need more Health care cost. The Government need to support Churches and other prayer groups that support healing through the scriptures. These includes churches like Christain Science and Apostolic healing missions. Jesus is the simplest way to support health care, not money.

    Look at most African Nations, the majority live with 100 US dollars per year.Yet faith has been mostly the source of good health. There is nothing like health care there.

    Obama, must not cover his eyes on this. Funds giving to develop more churches in communities and encouraging Religious education in schools will be ideal and best for Health Care issues. Read my Lips.

    March 22, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Pat F

    Take it from a Michigan resident: IGNORE this ignorant machine political HACK! Thank GOD she was born in Canada and is ineligible for the presidency.

    March 22, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. The Death of America by Obama

    This woman is truly stupid.
    All these obama democrats make their little speeches on cue from Axelrod.
    They won't be happy until they flush this country down the toilet.
    America.....get off the couch!

    March 22, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. wondering in virginia

    Look at what she did to the Michigan economy over the last 6 years and then ask yourself why in the world she would be on obama's economic advisory team!

    March 22, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Carl Justus

    I agree we have to do something about the cost of health care. I do not believe we would spend anymore than now if we were to insure everybody with a reasonably coverage.
    I am not talking about including any sexual drugs like viagra, or any other drug to have sex with. I would go for the pills for women so they did not get pregnant but even that is a sore point for me. If they would hold an aspirin between their knees it would work better.

    March 22, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. S.B.

    I agree with her 100%. Health care in this nation is a disaster. I know more people without health insurance than with it unless they qualify for Medicaid. While I understand that most of those Wall Street bonuses are contractual, we need to have a change in how their contracts are written. Hooray for the people who picketed those executive homes in Connecticut. I wish more people would do that. It's unreal the way executives, entertainers, and sports figures are able to live compared with everybody else, and the value of their service to society is in many cases very questionable. It's time we started rewarding real work in this country. To do that first and foremost we need to revive some of the power of the unions.

    March 22, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Vic Florida

    Health care costs can only be reduced by holding health care professionals, insurance companies, drug companies and corporate organizations responsible for OUTCOMES. Right now the system rewards waste, redundancy and repeated visits through the health care maze in order to get outcomes, that by world standards, are far below acceptable. Instead of talking to doctors and lawyers, people that want to reform health care and reduce costs should speak to the people that truly are carrying the burden of a sick health care system. We need a centralized universal health care system in order to get the reforms that are needed. As demonstrated by the financial industry, SELF regulation does NOT work.

    March 22, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. bruno

    Where does Ms. Granholm think taxing business' will do right now for the manufacturing segment of our society? Tax them more and they will layoff more people and retract (thats if they can even survive in the first place). Where will this money for health care come from? Obama has said the "rich".. look around you people... rich people are disappearing every minute...

    March 22, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. John

    Republicans will always oppose any reform of health care in the US. That much should be clear by now.

    Health care under Republicans means those who can't afford a doctor should just get out of the way and die.

    March 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. Jerry

    Yes, listen to this politician who has a mess out of Michigan!

    March 22, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Jerry

    Does "bottom" mean depression?

    March 22, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. mellow

    NO politician from michigan should be giving ANY advice to the President. We have no desire to allow idiotic politicians from the state of Michigan (a GORGEOUS state that has been ruined by fiscal irresponsibility) to spread to the rest of this country. So please, Granholm....shutup

    March 22, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Dan

    Record numbers of Americans are going to other countries for health care because it's too expensive in America.

    We go to other countries for surgeries.
    We go to other countries for medications.

    Costs are out of hand. Small businesses have to compete with competitors who have government healthcare. Small businesses in other countries save thousands of dollars per worker.

    It's time government actually help American businesses compete instead of selling out to the corporate lobbyist who contribute millions to Washington.

    These drug companies replace a drug when the can no longer fight the generic competition. Test results show often times the new drug doesn't provide any benefits.

    Who is better at giving medical advice?

    Doctor's or the insurance company executives who receive bonuses for saving costs?

    Doctor's or the drug companies who spend billions on incentives to insurance companies, politicians, and lawyers?

    March 22, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. pat C.

    thank god president obama is willing to spend money to get our school system up to world standards ,and bring the US into 21st century technoligy. how does the rebuplican party think we will ever achieve this great task if we never invest money to make it happen. the cost of such projects will pay for themselves with better educated peopleholding down jobs that we now have to depend on forign people to do for us and less dependancy on other nations for our needs. we must have a president with a big enough dream and vision to move us along this path to make us a stronger nation. we can not survive in the thinking of last century politics. we must catch up with the world and stand tall once more as a leader in the world.
    obama is the only man i know that has the intelligance and stamina to make this happen.thank god for him!

    March 22, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Slider

    How the Progressive Word Game is played:

    "Obama should rein in healthcare costs" =

    "Government should provide univeral healthcare through "managed" processes" =

    "Government should manage costs" = rationing.

    See how easy that is, Progressives?

    It won't matter until you need a procedure that some fat slob in Washington will deny you in the interests of "managing" costs.

    Then it won't matter to you because you'll be dead. Along with everyone else who was "too expensive" to treat.

    March 22, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. DawnS

    Typical Democrat cowardice. Yes, rein in health care costs. But HOW? HOW? HOW?

    March 22, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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