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Michigan Democrats pushing to create a statewide, single-payer healthcare system

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Thousands of Michiganders have a tough time paying for sky-high healthcare costs and many don't have healthcare coverage at all.

Michigan Democrats said they have the antidote. The legislation that would create the plan is still in the drafting phase, but will likely be introduced this year.

Newschannel 3 is getting some details from the architect of the plan, Democrat Yousef Rabhi, and how he plans to make sure everyone has access to healthcare coverage.

"I think we should be looking at universal access to healthcare and my plan would grant that. It would make sure everybody in the state of Michigan has access to healthcare," Rabhi said.

He says Democrats have a plan to fund universal healthcare coverage that could add close to $1 billion in state revenue.

"Democrats have introduced a bill around a graduated income tax to make sure the people at the upper end of the income scale are paying their fair share,” Rabhi said. “Right now, we have a flat tax rate in Michigan."

When the Affordable Care Act passed and healthy Michigan was born, Governor Rick Snyder and lawmakers helped expand coverage to more than 600,000 people who didn't have coverage before.

It was an effort Senator Gretchen Whitmer worked on when she was in the legislature.

She's now running for governor, and says she'll announce a new plan for healthcare reform in the future.

"The terms of it I'm not ready to throw on the table yet,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer is taking a look at Rabhi's plan for a single payer system.

"If It's a good plan for Michigan, it's something I'm interested in working on," Whitmer said.

Two other Democratic candidates for Governor are making single payer healthcare a cornerstone of their campaigns.

"I think we should be able to take basic care of people's health, and we should be able to take care of education," Shri Thanedar, a candidate for Michigan governor, said.

Physician Abdul El-Sayed says single payer would cost businesses less money and if done right, lower the cost of healthcare.

“That's the question we need to be talking about is how do we reduce healthcare costs,” El-Sayed said. “In this country we are spending 19 cents on the dollars for healthcare."

A single payer healthcare system is something many republicans oppose. Republicans also call a graduated income tax a tax hike.

But, you can expect democrats to continue to push single payer system well into the campaign season.


Follow Nick Minock on Twitter and on Facebook.


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