Michigan’s Minimum Wage Increase Causes Massive Layoffs for Health Care Workers


Michigan’s minimum wage will rise from $10.10 to $10.33 per hour on January 1, 2024, as part of the yearly timetable provided by the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018. However, this seemingly good shift has had a severe impact on the healthcare industry, which has been struggling to deal with growing labor costs and the ongoing epidemic.

According to a recent study by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA), over 10,000 healthcare workers have been let off or furloughed since the beginning of the year, as hospitals and nursing homes have been compelled to reduce personnel and services to stay afloat.

Minimum Wage Causes & Effects

One of the primary causes of layoffs is the disparity between the minimum wage and payment rates for Medicaid and Medicare, which cover over 60% of Michigan’s patients. These rates, determined by the federal and state governments, have not kept pace with inflation and wage growth. As a result, many healthcare providers are losing money with each patient they serve and are forced to downsize their personnel and capacity.

Another reason is a lack of qualified and experienced healthcare personnel, particularly nurses, who are in great demand across the country. Many nurses have left Michigan for areas with higher income and better working conditions, or they have retired early owing to the stress and burnout induced by the epidemic. This has resulted in many healthcare institutions being understaffed and unable to satisfy the demands of their patients.

The cutbacks have a catastrophic impact on both healthcare professionals and patients. Many workers have lost their salaries and health insurance, and they are experiencing financial and emotional difficulties. Some have attempted to find work in other industries, but have struggled owing to a lack of transferable skills and the shame of being laid off. Others have stayed unemployed, expecting to be rehired when conditions improve.

Patients, on the other hand, have suffered from lower quality and accessibility to health care services. Many people have reported higher wait times, postponed appointments, canceled procedures, and reduced staff-to-patient ratios. Some have been relocated to facilities farther away from their homes and families, while others have been denied care entirely. The cuts have disproportionately harmed the most vulnerable groups, including the elderly, low-income people, and the chronically ill.


Michigan’s minimum wage rise, while intended to be a beneficial development, has had serious consequences in the healthcare industry. The difference between the minimum wage and Medicaid/Medicare payment rates, along with a scarcity of qualified healthcare staff, has resulted in over 10,000 layoffs. This has harmed both healthcare staff and patients, creating financial and emotional pain, lowering the quality of service, and disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities.

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