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May 08, 1980 - Image 22

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-08

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Page 22-Thursday, May 8, 1980-The Michigan Daily
Blues, UAW panel
to create insurance
elan for drug abusers

LANSING (UPI) _ A special panel
including the United Auto Workers,
Michigan Blue Cross-Blue Shield, and
lawmakers was created yesterday to
draw up a hospitalization plan for per-
sons who abuse alcohol and drugs.
The coalition, similar in form to one
which hammered out a measure
revamping the Blues, is set to report
back to the House Public Health Com-
mittee within three weeks.
AN ESTIMATED 750,000 persons in
the state suffer from addiction to
alcohol or drugs. Drug-related illnesses
currently account for nearly 20 per cent
of all hospitalizations.
Lawmakers have talked about in-
cluding substance abuse in hospital in-
surance plans since 1972, but the con-
troversial 'issue never has been dealt
with, due in part to the opposition of the
Blues and the UAW.
However, both the giant health in-

surer and the union now support the
basic concept of a three-bill package in-
troduced by state Rep. David Campbell
(R-Clawson).-
UNDER THE package, health in-
surers must offer their subscribers
yearly coverage for alcohol and drug
abuse problems. The treatment would
inclde a minimum of 14 hospital days,
30 days in halfway houses and 45 hours
of outpatient treatment.
The UAW currently provides its em-
ployees with substance abuse coverage,
but the plan is limited and costly. Union
officials have been afraid expanding
the program could drive up contract
costs.
Public health committee Chairman
Raymond Hood (D-Detroit) said he
sympathized with the UAW.
"I UNDERSTAND them in as far as
they're concerned about negotiating
their contracts," Hood said. "That's
why I want them to participate."
During testimony, a representative of
the Michigan Council on Substance
Abuse said the state's poor economic
situation warrants quick action on the
bills.
John Nolan told the committee he
was unable to find treatment several
years ago for his own alcoholism
problem.
"When I finally went for help, there
was no help available," Nolan said.
"Basically I was told that unless
you're very wealthy or very poor,
there's no help available. I got
straightened out without any help from
the insurance companies - help I
desperately needed."

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Ethiopian famine
A leaf-thin child cries in a refugee camp for drought victims recently in the
Ethiopian province of Gemy Gofa near the Kenyan border. The area has
been without rain for more than two years. An estimated 1.5 million people
throughout Ethiopia and neighboring countries are now suffering from
famine.
Council to renew efforts
to purchase theater
I ntn rmPnl l)

(Contznuea trom rage 3
nine per cent. Mayor Louis Belcher also
promised skeptical council members
that he would raise a $162,000 interest-
free loan from private sources to cover.
a down payment on the theater.
A week earlier, on April 16, council
had rejected by one vote changes which
included a hike in the bond's interest
rate.
Approval of the changes at the April
21 neeting took the future of the theater
out of limbo and allowed the non-profit
group currently operating it to go ahead
with plans to raise funds to restore the
ornate landmark, which was built in the
late 1920s asa vaudeville house.
THE BUTTERFIELD Theater Corp.,
which had operated the building as a
movie theater, refused to renew its
lease in the spring of 1979, opening the
possibility that the theater would be
razed and developed into a mini-mall.
Efforts to save the theater through the
private sector fell through over the
summer and in the fall the city stepped
in.
The city entered into a deal with the
building's owners, promising to make a
$162,000 down payment - represen-
ting 30 per cent of the purchase price of
$540,000.
Within six months of making the
down payment in November, the city
was supposed to have sold $540,000 in
revenue bonds to cover the cost of the

theater.
THE DEAL set up in November ran
into trouble in April, when the six-
month period for selling the bonds
ended with the.bonds unsold due to in-
flated interest rates.
On April 16, a measure to raise the in-
terest rates on the bonds from eight to
nine per cent failed by one vote in coun-
cil.
The four dissenting members said
they were worried that the city would
never be able to sell the bonds and that
the city would be saddled with an out-
standing loan of $162,000, despite a
provision in the deal in which the
owners agreed to reimburse the down
payment to the city if the bonds did not
move on the market.
FOLLOWING THAT meeting,
Belcher, a strong advocate of the pur-
chase plan, vowed to revise the pur-
chase agreement and bring it back to
council for another vote.
What apparently swayed Democrats
Ken Latta (D-Second Ward) and Leslie
Morris (D-Second Ward) to reverse
their positions was Belcher's promise
to secure an interest-free loan from
private sources to cover the down
payment.
In the end, only David Fisher (R-
Fourth Ward) voted against the pur-
chase deal

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