Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) was pleased to sponsor the POLITICO Playbook Virtual Briefing featuring Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan enacted one of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, as the state and others across the country start to ease some of these restrictions and begin discussing plans to reopen, Whitmer discussed how Michigan will balance the desire to resume economic activity while avoiding a spike in disease and deaths that could prompt renewed stay-at-home orders.
Here are some key takeaways:
It’s turning a dial, not flipping a switch. Reopening states and the country will not be as easy as “flipping a switch,” Whitmer says, describing her preferred approach as more of a “dial” that can be adjusted as needed.
Changes may be regional. Part of the economy may be able to reopen in portions of the state or country, but not everywhere. Certain areas may have a lower number of cases while others may not have sufficient healthcare facilities to treat a surge in cases should one arise as restrictions are lifted.
States can’t do it alone. State budgets are already stretched thin by this outbreak and need both federal support and the flexibility to determine how to best allocate spending within their borders.
BCBSA Sr. Vice President Justine Handelman opened the briefing with a message on how Blue Cross Blue Shield companies across the country are working to support patients, health care providers and communities—while turning attention to the future. For example, she noted Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is partnering with 26 healthcare systems throughout the state to collect anonymous patient information to help scientists and doctors better understand the virus and adapt treatments, and also is participating in Whitmer’s task force on coronavirus racial disparities and how to address them.