Program: Rural health services

Appropriation:

Federal Funds:

$1,251,900

GF/GP:

$126,000

Total:

$1,377,900

Program Description:

This appropriation subsidizes the Michigan Center for Rural Health. The center, based at Michigan State University, aims "To coordinate, plan, and advocate for improved health for Michigan’s rural residents and communities through creative visionary education, service, and research …" [3]

Recommended Action:

This program should be eliminated. Rural residents may indeed have fewer choices in buying goods or services compared to their urban or suburban counterparts. For example, cable television service is not available in many rural areas, and world-class research hospitals typically are not located in counties whose population is under 10,000. On the other hand, rural residents may enjoy amenities not available to people who live in more densely populated areas, such as less congestion and easy access to outdoor recreation. Tradeoffs are inevitable in the choice of where to live, and the state could minimize the extent to which it shields individuals from the consequences of their own choices. Savings: $1,377,900. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal leaves this appropriation unchanged over the previous year’s budget.

Program: Michigan essential healthcare provider program

Appropriation:

Federal Funds:

$696,300

Special Revenue Funds:

$150,000

GF/GP:

$545,400

Total:

$1,391,700

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the Michigan essential healthcare provider program. The program offers up to $25,000 per year to physicians and dentists who provide medical services to areas designated as "underserved" by the medical community for the repayment of school loans. In fiscal year 2001, the program placed 36 medical providers and 5 dentists. [4]

Recommended Action:

This appropriation should be eliminated. It is true that healthcare options — as well as many other services — are more limited in rural areas than suburban and urban areas, but this in no reason to subsidize access to health care in rural areas. The true cost of and access to healthcare services should be part of a person’s or business’ location decision. If shortages do exist, private groups such as medical associations and community organizations should address them independently of government. These grants perpetuate the image of rural communities as dependent on the largesse of urban and suburban residents. Doctors and dentists are important, certainly, but so are lawyers, plumbers, and hairdressers. We do not have state programs to attract other professions to rural areas, and we do not need such a program for doctors or dentists. [5] Savings: $1,391,700. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal leaves this appropriation unchanged over the previous year’s budget.