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Bill changing Michigan's mental health care system receives another hearing

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The state Senate Committee on Government Operations heard discussion Tuesday on a bill package that would combine behavioral and physical health care services for Medicaid recipients.

The bills would also move eligible beneficiaries away from prepaid health plans into integrated ones contracted by the state.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is one of the package’s sponsors. He says a key change discussed in today’s meeting was a requirement for the new integrated plans to contract with existing providers.

"This fear, this unwarranted fear that all the sudden the health plans are going to ride into town on a white horse and replace all the providers is ridiculous on the surface. We don’t have enough providers," Mike Shirkey said.

Speakers during the committee hearing brought up concerns the package would shift control of the mental health care system to private insurers.

Supporters say the changes would help make the system more efficient.