Spring 2015 Forum

Chutes or Ladders? What Will the Next Move Bring for Michigan's Uninsured?

Michigan has made enormous strides to reduce the number of uninsured by enrolling 341,000 citizens through the Health Insurance Marketplace and over 603,000 citizens in the Healthy Michigan Plan. However, both of these programs are at risk in 2015. 

Join us as MDCH Director-emeritus James Haverman explains the challenges facing Michigan's Health Insurance Marketplace and the Healthy Michigan Program. Business and legislative perspectives will be provided by Mr. Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan and Sen. Mike Shirkey, Chair of the Michigan Senate Health Policy Committee and an architect of the Healthy Michigan Plan. 

Len Nichols, PhD will deliver the keynote address. Dr. Nichols is Director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University. Dr. Nichols is a nationally recognized health economist who is frequently called on by Congress and state legislatures to bridge the worlds of health policy, health politics and health economics. He will speak on the benefits of health care coverage for the individual and for society as a whole. 


Len M. Nichols

Len Nichols PhotoLen M. Nichols is the Director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics (CHPRE) and a Professor of Health Policy at George Mason University. He has been intimately involved in health reform debates, policy development, and communication with the media and policy makers for over 20 years, after he was Senior Advisor for Health Policy at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Clinton Administration. Since that time he has testified frequently before Congress and state legislatures. After OMB Len was a Principle Research Associate at the Urban Institute, Vice President of the Center for Studying Health System Change, and Director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation. In addition to his positions at GMU Len is on the Board of Directors of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a member of the National Committee for Vital Health Statistics, and an advisor to the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative. Len was an advisor to the Virginia Health Reform Initiative and is now the payment reform advisor to the Virginia Center for Health Innovation. As he has come to focus his research more on payment and delivery reform, Len was an Innovation Advisor to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS, and is now the Principal Investigator on PCMH evaluation studies as well as more general ways to use payment reform to achieve triple aim and health equity goals. Len’s first job was teaching economics at Wellesley College from 1980-1991, where he became Associate Professor and Economics Department Chair, after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1980. Len got his B.A. from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, and his M.A. in Economics from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

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Nichols, Good for the Patient and for the Economy.

Rob Fowler

Rob FowlerRob Fowler is President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. Having joined the staff of SBAM in 2000, he served for three years as the Vice President of the subsidiary corporation Small Business Insurance Services. He assumed his current position in July of 2003.

The Small Business Association of Michigan was founded in 1969 and today serves over 23,000 member companies from all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The organization’s mission is to help Michigan small businesses succeed by promoting entrepreneurship, leveraging buying power and engaging in political advocacy.

Before coming to Michigan, Mr. Fowler served as the Executive Director of the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) in Cleveland Ohio from 1995 to 2000. COSE is the small business arm of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce which was the country’s largest Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that he was a lobbyist for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce for ten years where he also served as the Executive Director of the Indiana Small Business Council. Rob worked for the Indiana Lt. Governor for two years before his time with the Indiana Chamber.

In his capacity as President of SBAM he is a registered lobbyist representing small business before the Michigan legislature. Mr. Fowler serves as the Chairman of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. He served as Chair of the Business Advisory Committee of the Michigan Hospital Association and the Association Advisory Council of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Small Business Association.

A graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Political Science. Rob and his wife Lisa live in Haslett with their son Reid and daughter Emma.

Senator Shirkey

Mike Shirkey


Shirkey earned a bachelor’s degree from General Motors Institute (GMI) in 1978, and a master of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1979.


Mike is the founder and owner of Orbitform, a leading engineering company that manufactures forming, fastening, joining and assembly equipment for a wide range of industries and applications. The company provides world-class prototype engineering services for assembly of parts and specialized forming and fastening. Mike also worked for General Motors in various management and engineering roles for 13 years.


Mike served on the Columbia Central School Board in the 1980s and ’90s. Shirkey also is the past board chair of Allegiance Health System.


Mike is the proud father of three and devoted husband of 39 years to Sue. Mike and Sue also have several grandchildren. He is an active member of the Jackson Free Methodist Church, and leads major construction/expansion projects. Mike also enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and working out. He is also an avid woodworker in “grandpa’s workshop.”

James K. Haveman

HavemanJames K. Haveman brings a distinguished history of public service, human service management and volunteer work to his role as Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH).

He recently served once more as Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health from Sept. 1, 2012 to 2014. Gov. Snyder had tapped Haveman to drive his aggressive health and wellness agenda forward – a critical piece for reinventing Michigan. Haveman, a Grand Rapids native, previously served as DCH director from 1996 to 2003 and Department of Mental Health Director from 1991 to 1996.

Haveman brings a wealth of experience and proven track record of innovation to the Michigan Department of Community Health. In 2003, he was appointed by the White House as the Coalition Provisional Authority Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Health. He was Iraq’s Acting Minister of Health for the first three months of his 11- month tenure. During this time, he also was the Senior Health Advisor to Ambassador Paul Bremer, the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority. His efforts focused on helping a free Iraq to build a sustainable and equitable health care system. Previously Haveman has served as Executive Director of Bethany Christian Services, the largest child welfare/adoption agency in the United States, Executive Director of the Kent County Community Mental Health Program and Executive Director of Project Rehab, a substance abuse program in Grand Rapids.

Haveman has received numerous awards, including the National Governors’ Association Distinguished Service Award in 1997 and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 2004. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Executives Without Borders and recently completed an eight-year term on the Ferris State University Board of Trustees.

A social worker by training, Haveman is a 1966 graduate of Calvin College. He earned his master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University. Jim and his wife, Barbara, reside in Grand Haven and have two married children and seven grandchildren.

Richard B. Murdock

murdock bio imageExecutive Director - Michigan Association of Health Plans


Mr. Murdock’s 40 years of work experience has been entirely in the health policy and finance area in Michigan. He has been with the Michigan Association of Health Plans since 2002 and has served as the Executive Director since 2004. He has been active with other trade associations in Lansing, and with America’s Health Insurance Plans, AHIP and Medicaid Health Plans of America, MHPA.

Prior to joining MAHP in 2002, Mr. Murdock enjoyed several positions within the Michigan State Budget Office and with the Michigan Department of Community Health including the direct administration of Michigan’s Medicaid Managed Care program from 1997-2002. Mr. Murdock was a financial specialist for the State Budget Office with focus in the Mental Health and Special Medicaid Financing areas and also held positions in the State Health Planning Office in areas of health professional training, preventive health practices and health care cost analysis.

Mr. Murdock began his professional career as a staff specialist working for the Michigan Legislature under a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative and was under assignment to the Chairs of the Michigan Senate and House Health Policy Committees. Mr. Murdock was also an adjunct profession for Central Michigan University and continues to participate in many panel or individual presentations on health policy.


Mr. Murdock received a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University and subsequently earned a Masters of Health Services Administration degree from the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health.




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  3. Food insecurity and high healthcare costs go hand in hand
  4. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to and Utilization of Care among Insured Adults
  5. Country Health Ranking and Roadmaps
  6. The Connection Between Health Coverage and Income Security
  7. Why Obesity and Heart Disease Hit Harder in Indian Country
  8. Health Care Systems Try to Cut Costs by Aiding the Poor and Troubled
  9. Disparities persist despite coverage gains: CDC
  10. Leveraging the Social Determinants of Health: What Works?
  11. Why Health Care Is Different If You're Black, Latino Or Poor
  12. Blacks, Latinos lag behind whites; 'leaving so many behind,' report says
  13. Genes Don't Cause Racial-Health Disparities, Society Does
  14. Health Coverage by Race and Ethnicity: The Potential Impact of the Affordable Care Act
  15. Crafting Win-Win Solutions with Health Impact Assessments
  16. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study -- the Largest Public Health Study You Never Heard Of, Part Three
  17. Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime
  18. Population Health in Medicaid
  19. Can Health care Be Cured of Racial Bias?
  20. In Sickness and In Wealth - Seven part video series
  21. Demographic Disparities in California Greatly Affect Health
  23. Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says