Michigan budget includes significant investments to improve healthcare worker wages, family health


Shane Ersland


The Michigan Legislature recently passed the state’s 2023-2024 budget, which designates hundreds of millions of dollars to improve public health.


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The $82 billion budget is the largest in the state’s history and is expected to be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan Association of Local Public Health Executive Director Norm Hess said in a statement that the budget will be welcome news for public health departments around the state.

“For the first time in 30 years, this budget covers the state’s mandated share for essential local public health services,” Hess said. “We are grateful to the governor and our lawmakers for taking time to understand our work and our value to communities around the state, and for providing us these critical resources to keep residents safe and healthy.”

This marked the first time the state’s budget was passed with both legislative branches under Democratic control in 40 years. Sen. John Damoose (R – Harbor Springs) said in a statement that the process for Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement on the budget was challenging. 

“The budget process is a long and arduous one,” Damoose said. “But after long hours of negotiating and advocating on behalf of residents across my state, my colleagues and I were able to agree on a bipartisan budget that focuses on state obligations and priorities, while also focusing on the needs of Michigan families.”


The budget includes significant investments aiming to improve the health of Michigan families and support the healthcare workforce, including:

  • $156.8 million to increase reimbursement rates for Medicaid services to improve enrollee access to healthcare
  • $140 million to increase wages for direct care workers and other staff assisting residents with disabilities and seniors who require home-based services and nursing home support
  • $56 million to fund Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies to support pregnant women, new mothers, and infants
  • $49.5 million to implement recommendations from the Racial Disparities Task Force, including neighborhood health grants, mobile health units, and sickle cell disease support
  • A $25 million increase in support for local health departments to provide essential services
  • $10 million to create a new foster care respite care program to provide temporary, occasional relief to foster parents
  • $6.2 million to fund the Medicaid Plan First program, expanding access to family planning services and cancer screening, aiming to save 25,000 Michiganders an average of $2,000
  •  $4.9 million over two years for the Double Up Food Bucks program

Fair Food Network CEO Kate Krauss said in a statement that Double Up Food Bucks helps families use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to acquire more fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We are grateful for this level of support to help us continue to bring this essential community resource to Michigan, allowing families to bring home more healthy food, putting more dollars into the pockets of local farmers, and boosting local economies. The process to stabilize funding for Double Up Food Bucks began with Whitmer’s executive budget recommendation in early February, and we are pleased to see the state’s continued commitment to the program in the budget.”


The budget also includes investments in affordable housing initiatives, including:

  • $212 million for residential energy efficiency improvements through federal funds, which lowers costs for Michiganders with point-of-sale rebates for home appliances and water heaters
  • $50 million for the Housing and Community Development program to alleviate affordable housing needs across the state and revitalize downtown areas
  • $10 million for the Missing Middle Housing Program