Column: I need your exorbitant medical bills

By Sen. Joe Hune

As we have all experienced, medical costs are rising rapidly. I was struck by the TIME magazine exposé, published March 4, 2013, titled “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us,” by Steven Brill. The subject of the exposé was the cost of medical care. Interestingly enough, many of the fees that hospitals charge bear no relation to the actual underlying cost of the product or service that the hospital is providing.

Many times, bills are tripled for some items used. According to one hospital’s report, it spent $27.5 million for laboratory work during calendar year 2010, yet it charged $293.2 million for that same work. That is roughly eleven times its original cost!

According to Brill’s article, hospitals are charging patients with bills that bear little to no relation to the actual cost of the health care. Whether it is charging $77 for boxes of gauze pads or marking up one tablet of Acetaminophen 10,000 percent, hospitals are not making these prices known to patients before providing care.

There is a price list for products and care that a hospital keeps called the “chargemaster.” This “chargemaster” is currently not available for your review, leaving the true price of medicine ambiguous to patients.

I need your help. If you have any outrageous hospital bills for services and/or products that do not match a reasonable market price, we want to see them! We are looking to gather as many bills from the 22nd District as we can as we pursue legislation that would, among other things, require hospitals to post their “chargemaster” lists online for patients to view. We are open to all suggestions of how to bring down medical costs, and we welcome your input.

If you are interested, you can mail copies of your bills to Senator Joe Hune Attn: Sam Champagne, P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909-7536 or scan and email them to We ask that you redact your sensitive information and we will keep all other information private!  Of course, if you have any questions please feel free to call our office at 855-JOE-HUNE.

Thank you, and we look forward to your incoming correspondence!


Hune and Snyder announce auto no-fault reform

LANSING, Mich.— Sen. Hune announced Thursday with Gov. Rick Snyder that auto no-fault reform would guarantee a minimum savings of $125 per car for Michiganders.

Potential auto no-fault reform legislation aims to reform an auto no-fault system that is unsustainable long term. Currently Michigan offers the most generous insurance benefits in the country. If reforms were to pass, Michigan would still offer the best benefits in the country, twenty times higher than second place New York.

“Auto insurance rates are out of control in Michigan,” said Hune, R-Hamburg. “This common-sense reform will lower the mandatory minimum for claims in Michigan to a generous $1 million, maintaining our status as the most generous state in terms of auto insurance benefits.”

Hune was joined by Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, and Gov. Snyder at the Capitol Thursday in a press conference announcing the savings.

Statistics show that 99.5 percent of claims are under $1 million and would be unaffected.

“The opportunity to maintain the top-rated medical benefits while saving families $250 is not an opportunity legislators often get,” Hune said. “I expect this legislation will be supported by my colleagues in the Republican caucus as a great cost-saving benefit to all our constituents.”

The average auto insurance medical claim in Michigan is more than $45,000, twice as high as the next closest no-fault state.

The auto no-fault bills are expected to be introduced soon.

Hune announces 2013 Boating and Fishing Guides available

For Immediate Release                                                                                   
April 4, 2013                                                                                               

Contact: Troy Tuggle
(517) 373-2420

Hune announces 2013 Boating and Fishing Guides available

LANSING, Mich.¬–Sen. Joe Hune announced Thursday that the 2013 Boating and Fishing Guide is available on his website.

One is often reminded that in Michigan, you are never more than six miles from a lake or stream, or a short drive from one of our magnificent Great Lakes. There are few better ways to enjoy summers.

“I spent many years as a youth both on boats and fishing in our many lakes and rivers,” said Hune, R-Hamburg. “This guide is a great resource for more information, including safety and licensing tips, for all Michiganders.”

Along with providing outdoor adventure, boating and fishing contribute billions of dollars to the state economy. Spending your vacation dollars here in our great state also helps keep countless family businesses and communities afloat.

The guide provides information of interest to boaters and anglers, along with legislative news–including our work to keep Michigan waterways accessible in light of low water levels–this newsletter provides safety tips and a resource guide.

The guides can be found under the ‘Publications’ tab at or call the office at 855-JOE-HUNE.