News Roundup
8:39 am
Wed May 2, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines...

Student Loan Debt

A pair of Michigan lawmakers is warning that people with government-backed student loans will see their interest rate double - unless members of Congress can agree on a plan to maintain and pay for a lower rate. Sarah Hulett reports:

The interest rate for Stafford loans is set to go up to 6.8 percent on July 1st. The U.S. House passed a Republican-sponsored bill last week that would maintain a lower rate, and pay for it with cuts to public health programs. Michigan U.S. Representatives Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke are co-sponsors of a bill that would instead end six billion dollars’ worth of subsidies to the oil and gas industries. That's the cost to the federal government of keeping the lower interest rate.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

A Republican state lawmaker has introduced a measure to make medical marijuana dispensaries legal in communities that want them. “State Representative Mike Callton has unveiled legislation to legalize dispensaries and allow the facilities to buy growers’ excess amounts of marijuana. He says that would help keep surplus medical marijuana off the black market. Right now, the legal status of medical marijuana dispensaries is waiting on a ruling from the state Supreme Court. Michigan voters approved the state’s medical marijuana law in 2008. The law makes no mention of dispensaries for medical marijuana cardholders,” Rick Pluta reports.

Federal Money for Community Health

Ten community health centers in Michigan will get more almost $20 million in federal funds. Sarah Cwiek reports:

Those health centers are key primary care providers for uninsured and underinsured people in many communities. The money is part of about $11 billion provided to community health clinics through the national health care reform law. Dr. Anand Parekh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Science and Medicine with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, calls the health centers “an important safety net.” Parekh says the Obama administration isn’t focused on legal challenges that could void parts or all of health care reform. Instead, he says they are in “full implementation mode.”