Governor creates position of health cost cutter


Governor Granholm has signed an executive order to create an inspector general to investigate reports of waste and fraud in Medicaid and other taxpayer-financed health programs.

The governor says hiring the inspector general is one of the things she's doing to find long-term savings in a state budget that's faced constant shortfalls. The deficit for the coming fiscal year is pegged at $1.8 billion. The governor also signed a directive this week to open state benefit plans for new employees to local governments and school districts. The new plan requires new hires to pay a bigger share of their insurance costs. But, in her weekly radio address, she says a bigger pool will help reduce premiums and co-pays.

"The more participants there are, the more we can lower the costs," she says.

The governor says cost-saving reforms are a necessary prelude to getting the public to accept new taxes as part of a plan for balancing the budget. The governor wants to extend the sales tax to services to come up with money for schools.