First, the news: the Michigan Department of Transportation’s $1.25 million Michigan Inuit Economic Development Corporation announced that the state’s first-phase reopening plan, which includes its connector roads, toll projects and the new interchange at Highway 41 in Farmington Hills, would open in phase five. Phase five, which will occur in the lower peninsula and central state, is estimated to be complete by late 2021 or early 2021. Although the news was first reported on the website for the Michigan Inuit Business Council, the announcement was made officially by Secretary of State Jennifer Granville at a news conference in Lansing. (Note: The original news release included references to a “planned” extension at the Farmington Hills/Northwest Valley Freeway that never materialized.)
Second, the news: the revised Michigan Inuit Economic Development Corporation budget has been released, containing an additional funding source of $5 million. The additional funding is described as follows (according to the budget as revised): “For the current six-month period, the [budget] increases funding by approximately one percent… For the next five years, it increases funding by approximately one percent.” As previously announced, this increase in funding should be used primarily for the “core initiatives” in the five-year plan, and to “revisit and improve projects in the previous two [budgeted years] that had less success than originally projected.” The budget now calls for the total cost of the six-month reopening program to be about $6 million.
Regarding the announcement that250 people outdoors will remain in the peninsula and northern lower peninsula, it was said “That is a number that may change from its original 250 but which is a number that any healthy economy can live with.” As previously reported, this significant number of people outdoors will remain in the peninsula and northern lower peninsula, which means they are being considered “in a state of potential abundance.” In addition to this significant number, the reopening of communities such as Farmington Hills, Sturgis, Stoughton and others was also discussed. Finally, it was mentioned that the economic reopening of these communities will go “much easier” when compared to other Michigan towns in the past, which can be seen as an indicator of the success of this economic action plan. Finally, according to the news, this is a “game changer… for Michigan’s recovery.”
With this news, I asked all of the questions that I wanted to get answered before I ever got involved in the situation. Why was there no long-term strategy included as part of the Miitary Plan? Could the Miitary Plan have been used to prevent the outbreak of H2O as well as contain it once it had started? If not, why not implement a long-term and concrete Miitary Plan now?
It was also brought to my attention that the Miitary Plan did not address the issue of protecting the food and beverage industry or the ability of restaurants to operate as they did prior to the recent economic reopening. This is problematic because in this phase five, the state is requiring that all Michigan municipalities meet certain standards and submit plans for economic reopening by June 30th. This is the same as the requirement that cities and counties meet when putting together their financial and business plans. It is highly doubtful that the Michigan municipalities will be able to meet this standard, leaving the Miitary Plan in its current condition.
Also, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ report contained some alarming information. For instance, the report stated that the number of reported cases of meningitis has increased at a rapid rate; up from ten cases in 2021 to twenty-three in 2021. In the upper peninsula and northern lower peninsula, the number of reported cases of hepatitis A has also risen; up from four in 2021 to eleven in 2021.
Why have I mentioned all of this? Well, the Michigan Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (MIPA) which was passed in February 2021 has phased out the use of private health insurance companies’ private health insurance companies. According to the MIPA, “people with private health insurance will have to purchase it from the state’s Medicaid program or through a public health program such as indigestion.” Currently, the Michigan State Office of Insurance Regulation has recommended that the state’s six-step Healthy Care Delivery System (HCDS) become a public health care system. That would force all hospitals in the state to be licensed by the state. If that doesn’t make sense to you, just ask Tom Barrett, the newly elected governor of Michigan, who is strongly opposed to the MIPA.
So, it appears that in phase five of the six-step health inspection plan for establishments that mainly serve alcohol, Michigan is leaning towards public health rather than private health. It is unclear when the final decision will be made on whether or not restaurants could reopen. But if you live in the state of Michigan, which just became one of the most populous states in America, you better start packing your bags and preparing for a long drawn out battle for your food and beverage business!