Monday, December 7, 2015

Notebook Page 10 December 2016

The legislature begins its final three weeks of session for 2016 this article we want to take a look back at what 2015 meant for CAN in Michigan.


Governor veto's legislation to regulate E-Cigarettes. The Governor says in his veto statement:

"I believe the preferred way to ensure that e-cigarettes are regulated in the interest of public health is to revise the existing definition of a tobacco product to make clear that e-cigarettes (and other novel nicotine-containing vapor products) are tobacco products subject to any restrictions generally applied to tobacco products under the Youth Tobacco Act, including the minimum age law."

Efforts have been made to reintroduce the legislation that is similar to what passed and was vetoed last session, We continue to work with the legislature to create common sense legislation and regulations surrounding E-Cigarettes.


Governor presented budget to the legislature, restores funding for cancer prevention and included a $100k increase for tobacco prevention.


Over 90 plus cancer advocates take over the Michigan Capitol to ask that cancer and tobacco prevention be a funding priority in the state's budget. With the over 70 volunteers that joined staff at the State Capitol, almost every volunteer met with their lawmakers. Jennifer Varner received CAN's Michigan Volunteer of the Year award and Governor Snyder received Michigan's Distinguished Advocate Award with his efforts around E-Cigarettes and the Healthy Michigan Plan. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley spoke to the crowd at the end of our busy lobby day!


Legislature finalizes the budget, includes $500k for cancer prevention and $1.6 Million for tobacco prevention. Attempts were made by the Senate to move the cancer prevention line to the Health Endowment Fund; a privately controlled fund set up by the legislature and Blue Cross. If those efforts would have been successful it would've meant that the State would not fund any cancer prevention programs. This was a huge victory for us and other groups that were afraid of losing their program funding.


Summer recess! Volunteers made in district meetings and drop by's with state and federal lawmakers, working hard to get our messages to the lawmakers. 

As a result, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow signed on as co-sponsors to S 624, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening bill.

Members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation were targeted for co-sponsorship and support of the 21st Century Cures Act. Michigan ended up with 11 members signing onto the act and all but one member of Congress voted in support.


The State and Federal legislatures got back to work. In Michigan regulations for Bio-Similar products was a hot topic for the state. Creating regulations for these products could allow them to come to market in Michigan and make them available, creating lower cost options for biological products. This debate would go through until the end of October.

More than 700 volunteers and staff took part in the annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington DC. Michigan's delegation represented the state extremely well gaining co-sponsors on critical legislation around polyp removal coverage legislation and legislation supporting palliative care training. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was recognized at the event with the National Distinguished Advocacy Award.

October - November:

October and November saw bio-similar products at the forefront of the legislative activity. Additionally, the foundation was being set to start a large campaign issue for 2016. ACS CAN started the Prevention Michigan coalition. The coalition’s goal is to raise the tobacco taxes and use the funding to support prevention efforts in cancer and tobacco and to support the state's trauma system. We kicked off our activities with a poll and release the week of the Great American Smoke Out. The poll found 6 out of 10 Michiganders support an increase in the cigarette tax and 6 out of 10 provide more support when they know the new funding would go towards health initiatives. This shows clear support from the State for an increase in the tax and support for health in Michigan. We continue to grow our coalition to gain more support throughout the health community.


December looks as if it might be quiet for our issues in Michigan. We will continue our work on Bio-Similar products, support the newly introduced oral parity legislation and continue our work around the tobacco taxes. Petitions for the Prevention Michigan campaign are being collected with a goal of 5,000 petitions collected in 2016.

We also want to take a moment to say thank you. Our volunteers, ACT Leads, State Lead Ambassador, Community Ambassadors, and others give so much of their time to help support our efforts. Without your voice, the voice of cancer would go away. Thank you for all that you do and we hope you have a great 2016.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Notebook Page 9 November 2015

October found the state in full gear working on trying to find a solution to the road situation in Michigan.  This left a lot of the health issues and others on the back burner for many different groups including ACS CAN. The House Health Policy Committee did consider one issue that ACS CAN has some interest in; Bio-similars.

Biologic drugs are a classification of drugs that are made through a process that involved a living organism. The process uses that living organism to create the active ingredient in the drug that will be used to fight whatever the drug has been approved for. Biological drugs have been used to treat breast cancer and other cancers  so access to these critical medications is crucial. Today, the science is evolving and how biologic drugs are being made is changing. Many manufactures are creating what’s called a Bio-similar medication. That drug is similar to the biologic that it is trying to replicate but not quite the same thing. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created regulations that govern these bio-similar products creating two classifications, bio-similars and interchangeable bio-similars, which are even closer in resemblance to the primary biological drug.  These drugs are usually less costly to the patients, making access to them extremely important. Michigan does not have any regulations that would allow these drugs to come to market and the first bio-similar is about to hit store shelves here in the next couple months, therefore regulation of these products is needed. 

House Bill 4812 was introduced by Representative John Bizon, a physician from Battle Creek, to provide regulations around bio-similars. A critical part of his legislation provided an avenue for physicians and pharmacists to communicate when an interchangeable bio-similar is changed out for a biologic. For safety reasons physicians have the knowledge if there is a switch and the patient has an adverse reaction. For the patient it can provide a piece of mind that the physician knows what is happening with their care. Another piece of legislation was introduced, House Bill 4437, which we oppose that does not provide the communication piece in the legislation.

The House Health Policy Committee took testimony on House Bill 4437 with the majority of the testimony being against the legislation. ACS CAN provided written testimony explaining our support for communication for safety and peace of mind. We expect the House committee to take up HB 4812 since there is a lack of support for HB 4437. 

This past month we also had our second meeting of the Michigan Palliative Care Summit. Health leaders from around the state met in Lansing and began work on a road map to quality palliative care in Michigan. Close to twenty health care professionals and patient advocates participated in the great work that was done. We are hopeful that with all of the great notes that were taken by each work group a draft document can be created to provide the road map that Michigan needs.

Lastly, Michigan has leveraged Breast Cancer Awareness month to push Governor Snyder to increase funding for the Cancer Prevention Program.  Michigan’s Cancer Prevention Program houses the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program.  This program is vital to making sure all women have access to the screenings and follow-up care necessary to make an accurate cancer diagnoses and secure the proper treatment.  Volunteers from around the state have been collecting postcards throughout the month asking the Governor to increase funding by $2 million in his next budget.  Over 2,000 postcards have been sent to the Governor so far.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Notebook Page 8 October 2015

September was a full month for ACS CAN in Michigan. The Michigan legislature made it's way back from its summer recess and the with national Leadership Summit and Lobby Day ahead, the ACS CAN team from Michigan was in full swing legislatively on both state and federal fronts.

In Michigan legislation was introduced to regulate bio-similar pharmaceuticals. Biologics are a classification of drugs that are commonly used for the treatment of cancer along with arthritis and other conditions. These drugs are created through a completely different process from your common pharmaceuticals like aspirin. Biologics use biologic materials to create the drug which leaves it extremely hard to recreate into a generic form. They have created drugs called bio-similars which gets extremely close to the original biologic composition but not quite.

These drugs are so new that regulations from state to state have not been created yet. ACSCAN is working with other interested parties to create legislation and regulations that would allow for the switching out of the biologic to a bio-similar but require that the pharmacist contact physician to notify them that switch has been made. The House Health Policy committee will be taking testimony on two bills dealing with the issue. We support House Bill 4812 from Representative John Bizon, a physician from Battle Creek.

Also in September ACSCAN made it's way to Washington D.C. for it's annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day.

The Michigan delegation to the national Leadership Summit and Lobby Day was very successful this year.  We held 12 meetings with congressional offices along with meetings with Senator Gary Peters and Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Accomplishments on the Hill

After excellent meetings with our Congressional members, we were able to get verbal commitments from Rep. Dave Trott and Rep. Debbie Dingell to co-sponsor H.R. 1220, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screenings Act, and H.R. 3119, the Palliative Care & Hospice Education Act. Additionally, we were able to thank Senators Stabenow and Peters for co-sponsoring S. 624, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screenings Act.  The Senators signed onto the bills earlier this year after meeting with our volunteers in Michigan.

Advocacy Awards
Michigan was well represented at the annual national advocacy awards dinner.   Michigan ACT Lead Jennifer Varner was awarded the national ACT Lead of the Year Award for her outstanding work over the last year, and over the last few years, with advocacy and program integration.
Jennifer’s Award was highlighted in a recent news article in Midland.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder won the National Distinguished Advocacy Award for his support of ACS CAN priorities over the past few years.  Governor Snyder spearheaded the charge to expand Medicaid in Michigan with his Healthy Michigan Plan.  Over 600,000 Michigan workers now have access to health insurance and life-saving cancer screenings through this plan.  Additionally, Governor Snyder took a firm, and very public, stand against e-cigarettes by heeding the call of ACS CAN volunteers to veto misleading e-cigarette legislation.  This legislation would create a special class for these products and possibly prevent them from all tobacco control laws.  Governor Snyder was not able to attend but did record a video accepting the award which was played during the Leadership Summit.

Finally, Matt Phelan was awarded the Grassroots Professional of the Year award.

Lights of Hope
This year’s Lights of Hope ceremony saw significant rain, but that only showed the vigilance of cancer advocates as they ventured out into the weather to honor those that are battling cancer or have lost their battle.  There were a record 22,000 bags around the Capitol Reflecting Pool this year and thanks to some fantastic volunteers, Michigan collected around $12,000 in Lights of Hope donations!  The Lakeshore Division ranked second in Lights of Hope donations and Michigan ranked 4th among the states.  We only trailed the mega-states, Texas, California and Florida.    Michigan volunteer Jennifer Belaire was the top online fundraiser in the nation this year for Lights of Hope collecting over $2,000 in online contributions.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Notebook Page 7 August 2015

The summer recess for Michigan’s Legislature is quickly coming to an end and while lawmakers have enjoyed some time off, ACS CAN has remained hard at work preparing for the fall session.

One of our ongoing priorities is the issue of palliative care. On August 27th ACS CAN hosted the Michigan Palliative Care Summit in Lansing.  The summit brought together patient leaders, physicians and others from around the state to take an in-depth look at ways to improve palliative care and patient quality of life in Michigan.

Debbie Webster, from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, started the program and provided information on Michigan's Cancer Plan and what the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s five year goals are around palliative care. She was joined by Dr. Gary Roth, the medical director of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association's Keystone Center. The Keystone Center is charged with finding quality measures and initiatives surrounding high risk or critical areas in medicine. He is also a thoracic surgeon
Presentation from Debbie Webster from MDHHS
with extensive experience using palliative care with his patients.  Finally, Dr. Michael Stellini, palliative care director for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Detroit, spoke about his experience in a multi-year VA initiative creating comprehensive palliative care teams—including doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains—and how that has worked to improve patient care.

The presentations provided a framework for a robust round table discussion wherein our experts and others focused in on a few major hurdles facing palliative care in Michigan. Namely: workforce development, availability of in-home care, education and awareness of palliative care among families and patients, and reimbursement and data tracking for providing such care. The group left the event energized and excited to start tackling these issues ahead of the next October gathering.

In addition to palliative care, the ACS CAN Michigan team continues to narrow down our priorities for the 2016 legislative session. If your office is interested in a sneak-peak at what’s to come this session, please contact Matt Phelan at to set up an office lunch and learn.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Notebook Page 6 July 2015

Session has finally come to the summer recess with both chambers passing their versions of a road funding solution for Michigan. Now the question is how the state will generate the revenue to cover the crumbling road situation. This is a good time for us at ACS CAN to take a step back and review the activities of the past six months.

This year started with the governor taking a strong stance on e-cigarette regulation by vetoing the legislature's attempt to classify those products separately from tobacco products Governor Snyder wrote in his letter to the legislature:

"Michigan should not enact new state law that is not consistent with a legally-mandated approach proposed by the U.S. FDA, which is to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. To do so will unnecessarily sow confusion, send a mixed health message to the public on a subject that is already complex and confusing to many and effectively conflict with the Sottera ruling issued in 2010 by the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia at the request of the e-cigarette industry itself."

The governor went on to say:

"I believe the preferred way to ensure that e-cigarettes are regulated in the interest of public health is to revise the existing definition of a tobacco product to make clear that e-cigarettes (and other novel nicotine-containing vapor products) are tobacco products subject to any restrictions generally applied to tobacco products under the Youth Tobacco Act, including the minimum age law."

The governor's leadership provided a strong victory against the tobacco industry's attempt to create their own harmful regulations. 

This year's budget cycle started at the end of January with Governor Snyder offering his recommendations for the state's coming fiscal year. His budget proposal appropriated $500,000 for cancer prevention and $1.6 million for tobacco prevention. This was the first time in a while that tobacco prevention has seen an increase in funding, and the cancer prevention appropriation was a win, since an executive order earlier in the year took away the $500,000 that was appropriated last year. 

This lead into our Day at the Capitol where our volunteers asked lawmakers for $1 million for both cancer prevention and tobacco cessation.  86 volunteers and staff from across the state made the trip to Lansing to speak with the Legislature We took time to highlight our Volunteer of the Year, Jennifer Varner from Freeland. Jennifer has worked tirelessly to further the mission of ACS CAN and the fight against cancer. It was only fitting that she would receive the award this year.  We also awarded Governor Rick Snyder our Distinguished Advocacy Award for 2015. His leadership and efforts surrounding the Healthy Michigan Plan (Medicaid Expansion), e-cigarettes and restoring cancer prevention funding made him worthy of the award.

All of the efforts from our Day at the Capitol were seen over the next several months as lawmakers tried to tie down the budget. The Senate was still trying to decide what to do with the prevention money as they had taken half, including all funding for cancer prevention, and moved it out of the budget. The House kept with the governor’s recommendations and left the money in the budget for prevention. Volunteers from around the state called and e-mailed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Senator Marleau to discuss why it was important to keep this funding in place. There were more than 200 contacts to Senator Marleau and other members of the conference committee. Those contacts ultimately kept prevention funding in place for this year, which was another huge victory for Michigan.

Now that the budget session is over for another eight months, we are now starting to focus on the other issues that are swirling around the Capitol. E-cigarette regulation, oral parity for chemotherapy drugs, a tobacco tax increase and legislation that would allow for medication synchronization will be on the forefront of our agenda for the fall. 

The grassroots side has been extremely active as well. Issues surrounding the one degree campaign and 21st Century Cures legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Fred Upton from St. Joseph have been creating a lot of buzz around the state.

Some of our ACSCAN Michigan ACT Leads teamed up with the Lansing Lugnuts at Cooley Law School Stadium to raise awareness of the national One Degree campaign on June 21.  The event was one of dozens nationwide where minor league baseball teams are teaming up with ACS CAN and Fans for the Cure as part of the One Degree campaign to make cancer research funding a national priority.

Our ACT leads staffed tables during the baseball game to collect petitions and raise awareness about the One Degree campaign.  ACSCAN and the Lugnuts sent a joint press release prior to the game that resulted in a great television news segment featuring ACT Lead Jennifer Varner that ran in the Lansing area on WILX.  Additionally, this exposure led to ACT Lead Beth Trierweiler being interviewed on the television and radio program Current Sports with Al Martin the next day.

ACT Lead Beth Trierweiler and Heidi Varner were honored at the game by throwing out the first pitch. This was a great awareness event for ACSCAN in Michigan and lead to a good amount of social media interaction.

Michigan Congressman Fred Upton is the lead sponsor on the 21st Century Cures Act so Michigan has been targeted for grassroots activity.  Recently, ACSCAN pushed to secure co-sponsors for the bill.  Michigan has secured 11 out of 14 members of the Michigan delegation as co-sponsors.  This included Congressman Mike Bishop, Dave Trott and John Moolenaar who were all targeted with a social media campaign by ACSCAN volunteers that successfully pushed them to sign onto the bill.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Notebook Page 5 May 2015

The House and Senate are in the final days of the budget writing process. Last month, Proposal 1 was rejected by Michigan voters.  This proposal would have funded many state programs through a one percent increase in the sales tax.  Since the proposal was defeated, Legislators have been searching for ways to fund programs without raising taxes which has resulted in many cuts in the state budget.  Fortunately, revenue expectations show a small increase for the coming fiscal year.  Legislators are prepared to finalize Michigan's state budget with fewer cuts than expected.

This year, with the budgetary picture being pretty grim, our volunteers’ efforts through phone calls, emails and Lobby Day brought a victory for cancer and tobacco prevention in Michigan. The House and Senate agreed that cancer prevention should not lose funding, as the Senate had suggested, and maintained funding levels at $500,000 for the next fiscal year.  Additionally, tobacco prevention will actually see a $100,000 increase in funding for the next fiscal year.

Saving these programs from being cut was a significant victory made possible by the actions of our advocates.  In the final weeks of budget negotiations Community Ambassadors were asked to contact State Senator Jim Marleau, the chair of the conference committee.  Community Ambassadors sent Senator Marleau over 30 emails and called his office around 20 times within several days.  We believe this pressure assured our programs would be saved.  In addition, an action alert was sent out targeting the conference committee that resulted in over 200 actions being taken.

Overall, it was a great budget cycle for cancer and tobacco prevention. We may not have seen the increases that we advocated for during Lobby Day, but we did avoid the fate that other programs saw with a loss of funding. Moving forward, we want to ensure that our programs don't find themselves in the crosshairs of the legislators in the next budget cycle. So we will work hard to find a permanent funding solution for these programs in the coming months.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Notebook Page 4 April 2015

SLA Phil Moilanen Starting
Lobby Day
Last week, ACS CAN and its volunteers took Lansing by storm with its annual Lobby Day at the Michigan Captiol. Cancer and tobacco prevention funding was on the minds of the volunteers and staff who took part in the annual event. ACS CAN had a total of 86 volunteers and staff from across the state made the trip to Lansing to speak with their lawmakers.

This year, our main speaker was Dr. Eden Wells from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Wells laid the foundation for the meetings with lawmakers that were slated to happen later that day with her presentation on the epidemiology of cancer throughout Michigan.

Lung cancer still continues to be the number-one killer in Michigan when it comes to cancer. Smoked tobacco usage rates continue to fall in Michigan, but with the introduction of e-cigarettes, the trend is shifting from smoked to "vaping." The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also reported that teenagers’ use of e-cigarettes has risen over the past few years. This is causing young people to become addicted to nicotine and move on to other tobacco products.

Jennifer Varner with
Matt Phelan with her
Volunteer of the Year Award
Now it was time to know why we were in Lansing. Sarah Pagano, a cancer survivor, shared her story with the group, bringing perspective on why our work was so needed. Sarah's story of strength brought an electricity to the room, charging up those who were going to be talking to lawmakers that day.

Following Sarah’s remarks, we awarded our Volunteer of the Year Award to Jennifer Varner, an ACT lead from Freeland. Jennifer has worked tirelessly to further the mission of ACS CAN and the fight against cancer. It was only fitting that she would receive the award this year. 

Now armed with information, our volunteers were ready for the House members to join them for lunch. Lawmakers and staff filled the room to hear volunteers’ personal cancer stories and why the Legislature needed to prioritize the fight against this disease. . There was support from many House members for the increase in funding for the cancer and tobacco prevention programs in Michigan.
ACS CAN Volunteer Jay Kalisky with
Rep. Michael McCready

From there, ACS CAN members met with senators and their staff to talk about the need for cancer and tobacco prevention funding. Afterward, we met back at the Capitol to rally around why we were in Lansing that day. Joining us was Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley. He was there on behalf of the governor to support our efforts in raising the bar for cancer prevention and discuss the importance being actively engaged in the legislative process.

At the end of the day, we had an opportunity to present the ACS CAN Distinguished
Group photo with Lt. Governor Calley
after the rally.
Advocacy Award to Governor Snyder in his office. Since the governor was not able to attend the rally, he asked that we stop by for a quick chat in his office and to take a photo of the group with him receiving the award. Governor Snyder has been a great champion for ACS CAN by supporting the Healthy Michigan Plan, restoring cancer prevention funding in his budget this year and vetoing the tobacco industry's attempt to classify e-cigarettes as something other than a tobacco product. 

ACS CAN presents our Distinguished Advocate Award
to Governor Rick Snyder
Wrapping up the day, many approached us and explained how they truly enjoyed Lobby Day this year and felt it was extremely effective. We have already seen the positive effects with many lawmakers talking about cancer and tobacco prevention in Michigan.

Thank you to all of those who made the trip the Lansing to speak to your lawmakers! Your voice made a difference in the fight against cancer. Remember that there is still more to do. Contact us or watch for e-mails talking about coffee hours, or set up meetings in your hometown to meet with your lawmakers. We need to continue to keep cancer prevention on the forefront lawmakers’ minds. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Notebook Page 3 April 2015

Things started to heat back up in Lansing this week with lawmakers making their way back from a two-week long spring break. What is ahead of them from here until summer? Budget work is the number one issue on everyone's mind.

Let’s review the happenings from this first week back from break:


The House Education Committee took testimony on Senate Bill 139, which would allow for bake sale fundraisers in schools. Under current federal regulations, if items that are being sold are not within nutritional standards, they are not allowed to be sold. There are exceptions for items that are prepackaged like Boy Scout popcorn or Girl Scout cookies.

ACS CAN is a member of the Healthy Kids Healthy Michigan (HKHM) coalition that supports better nutritional standards, better health education classes and more activity for kids while at school. We joined HKHM in opposition of the legislation, since it would weaken the nutrition standards in schools, with the hope of seeing substantial changes to the legislation . We are looking forward to working with HKHM and others to change the bill moving forward.


The Senate were working on other issues this week that were tied in to Auto No-Fault reform. 


The Senate Appropriations Committee started to move its budget bills this week. The Department of Community Health Budget is scheduled for action on Tuesday. The House has scheduled its appropriations committee for every day they are in Lansing this week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). We will be watching the movements of the budget with this hurdle over and several more to go.


One federal note from our last notebook entrance. House Resolution 2 was passed by the Senate and was sent to the President for his signature. This is huge for us since it allowed for re-authorization of funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers until 2017. This is important because now the federal government will keep funding these centers that provide health care to those who are undeserved

As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at

Monday, April 6, 2015

Notebook Page 2 April 2015

Last week was the start of the legislative spring break in Michigan. Lawmakers usually take a two-week long spring break that provides them time back in their districts to meet with constituents, attend events and spend time with family.  This also gives those working with the legislature the chance to get caught up, revise plans and set strategy for campaigns and issues for the rest of the spring legislative season. That is what we have been doing here at MI ACS CAN.

At the end of April, we will be heading to the Capitol for out annual Day at the Capitol to share our stories and lobby lawmakers on saving and enhancing our cancer prevention and tobacco prevention funding.  Over the past several years, both budget lines have taken a hit seeing their money dry up. The biggest example is cancer prevention, where it was budgeted at $6.5 million at its highest time and now only receives $500,000 for its programming. These issues are crucial and needs to be funded and supported even more. 

Other items that are on my radar are legislation regulating e-cigarettes, fundraising in schools, the Michigan Medicaid rebidding process, Healthy Michigan Reform and many more. Continue to watch for my updates in the coming months. I will be back once the legislature resumes its spring session schedule. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me at

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Notebook Page 1 March 2015

Welcome to the new ACS CAN Government Relations Notebook. The purpose of having this is to provide updates on the happenings at the State and Federal levels that affect our fight against cancer. It is my hope to have a weekly report that will go across most platforms during the legislative session and a monthly update during the summer months.

First I want to start out by introducing myself. I have been involved in Michigan State Government and politics for the past decade. I started out as an intern with Representative Kevin Green, who was in Michigan's 77th district, then was hired to work full time by Representative Kevin Elsenheimer, who was in Michigan's 105th district. While with both Elsenheimer and Green I did a majority of constituent services, caucus staff development, and campaign work.

I was approached by the Michigan State Medical Society to join their government relations team in 2009. At MSMS I did a flurry of activities including policy analysis and development, communications throughout the MSMS community, and lobbying work within the legislature and the Governor's administration. Once I learned of the opportunity with ACS CAN I jumped knowing that it would be a wonderful opportunity to broaden my horizons and work for such a great team, and here I am today. So now on to the news:


Over the past several weeks the Governor, along with the legislature, has been working on putting together the State's budget for the coming fiscal year. We were excited to see that the Governor in his budget proposal provided the $500K for cancer prevention programming that the Department of Community Health received last year. This year we want to continue that momentum and move us into an area where more funding can be added to the budget line, asking for an additional $500K. Providing funding for these crucial programs will only make the move of the State to implement the Healthy Michigan Program stronger. These two programs can work in concert together but it depends on the lawmakers to make it a priority.

E-cigarettes are once again making their way into the spotlight in Michigan politics. This past week Senator Rick Jones introduced Senate Bill 231 which was the package that ACS CAN and others adamantly fought against. SB 231 would place E-cigarettes in a classification of their own since the nicotine is not delivered by smoking tobacco, supporters of the legislation say that it's not tobacco. We say why does the delivery system matter, you are still getting the harmful effects from smoking tobacco by using an e-cigarette. This is an issues that we will be engaged with throughout the term.


On the federal level there is an issue that we are paying attention to as this moment being interested in where it goes. The House of Representatives this past week passed HR 2 which would provide for several reforms in Medicare and Medicaid. The largest though was the fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate, the formula used to provide payment for physicians in Medicare, was a part of the legislation. The bill would now move physician into a quality reporting system where if physicians would meet certain quality standards they would receive a higher reimbursement. This could be great for patient care in the future.

Also attached to HR 2 is a funding extension for Community Health Centers with tie in to Federally Qualified Health Centers in Michigan. Michigan currently has 36 CHC's and FQHC's along with 5 that are State look a likes.  The provisions added in the bill would continue funding through 2017.

We will be tracking these issues and others in the coming months. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at