Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press chronicling the fight against —and sometimes the triumph over— our most horrific diseases. Her award-winning stories chronicled the battle over the Affordable Care Act, state expansion of Medicaid, cutting-edge research led by Michigan’s hospitals and universities, deadly mistakes and extraordinary care in Michigan’s nursing homes, and a nearly forgotten mix-up of chemicals in cattle feed in the 1970s and its lingering effects today. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Ohio). You can contact Robin at rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Articles

Costs drop for Michigan Obamacare insurance. But only after crazy increases

Costs drop for Michigan Obamacare insurance. But only after crazy increases

October 31, 2019 | Robin Erb

Premium costs are down 2.5 percent after spiking more than 25 percent two years ago. Analysts say the market is stabilizing after a rocky launch but much uncertainty remains.

Michigan judge suspends Gov. Whitmer’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Michigan judge suspends Gov. Whitmer’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

October 15, 2019 | Robin Erb

In granting a preliminary injunction, the judge said the state undermined its own argument that the move was a public health “emergency.”

Michigan surgeons offered more money to limit opioids for pain

Michigan surgeons offered more money to limit opioids for pain

October 15, 2019 | Robin Erb

Blue Cross offers 35 percent boost in insurance reimbursement when doctors rein in opioid prescriptions after common surgeries. The effort shows some promise in a state hammered by opioid deaths.

Pelvic exams in surgery? Not without woman’s consent, Michigan lawmaker vows

Pelvic exams in surgery? Not without woman’s consent, Michigan lawmaker vows

October 15, 2019 | Robin Erb

Some women have been subjected to unexpected exams by medical students and residents in the name of education. Men, meanwhile, have been given rectal exams during prostate surgery.

In Nassar’s wake, MSU combines oversight of its health colleges

In Nassar’s wake, MSU combines oversight of its health colleges

October 11, 2019 | Robin Erb

Still reeling from damage by serial sexual abuser and former university doctor, Michigan State University said the changes are intended to help rebuild trust and accountability.

Bad weather, resident concerns hamper Michigan’s efforts to spray for EEE virus

Bad weather, resident concerns hamper Michigan’s efforts to spray for EEE virus

October 3, 2019 | Robin Erb

As Michigan reports its fourth death from Eastern equine encephalitis, pilots charged with spraying pesticides are grounded by weather, and state officials field calls from concerned citizens.

Michigan’s ban on flavored vaping products with nicotine now in full force

Michigan’s ban on flavored vaping products with nicotine now in full force

October 1, 2019 | Robin Erb

Court ruling thrusts into doubt the future of Michigan's e-cigarette industry and millions in taxes. Sales of products are punishable for jail time, fines.

Michigan to spray 14 counties to combat deadly EEE mosquito virus

Michigan to spray 14 counties to combat deadly EEE mosquito virus

September 27, 2019 | Robin Erb

At a cost of $1.5 million or more, low-flying aircraft will spray 2.5 miles around each confirmed EEE case across southwest Michigan and beyond.

Michigan Republicans end funding to implement Medicaid work rules they created

Michigan Republicans end funding to implement Medicaid work rules they created

September 24, 2019 | Robin Erb

Republicans strip $10 million allotted to roll out work rules and avoid chaos that has plagued other states. They say it’s a compromise. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says “these budgets are a mess.”

Southfield City Clerk accused of Michigan election fraud

Southfield City Clerk accused of Michigan election fraud

September 23, 2019 | Robin Erb

Sherikia Hawkins is charged with doctoring absentee voter paperwork to reconcile vote counts. State officials said any misdeeds did not affect the outcome of the 2018 election.

Deadly EEE virus in Michigan forces daylight football starts, cancellations

Deadly EEE virus in Michigan forces daylight football starts, cancellations

September 20, 2019 | Robin Erb

Friday night football has moved to daylight for at least two schools in Kalamazoo County, the epicenter of the outbreak of Eastern equine encephalitis. Eight people in Michigan have been infected.

It's official: Flavored e-cigarettes are now illegal in Michigan

It's official: Flavored e-cigarettes are now illegal in Michigan

September 18, 2019 | Robin Erb

Emergency rules aimed at protecting youth make distribution and sale of flavored vaping products punishable by six months behind bars.. Retailers have 14 days to remove the products from their shelves.

Critics rip Michigan vaping ban, citing harm to smokers and vape shops

Critics rip Michigan vaping ban, citing harm to smokers and vape shops

September 12, 2019 | Robin Erb

A legislative hearing in Lansing on Thursday gave lawmakers and shop owners an opportunity to explain the unintended consequences of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s planned ban on flavored vape products.

How Right to Life has dominated Michigan abortion politics since Roe v. Wade

How Right to Life has dominated Michigan abortion politics since Roe v. Wade

September 12, 2019 | Robin Erb, Cheyna Roth, Craig Mauger

In a state that favors abortion rights, the group uses a network of ardent volunteers and the “golden ticket” of its candidate endorsements to restrict abortion access. It hopes to make more gains in 2020.

Michigan Medicaid rules change soon. Can cool envelopes help avoid confusion?

Michigan Medicaid rules change soon. Can cool envelopes help avoid confusion?

September 9, 2019 | Robin Erb

New work rules go into effect in January for Healthy Michigan beneficiaries. Gleaning lessons from a debacle in Arkansas over similar changes, Michigan is stepping up efforts to communicate the changes.

Vaping may be bad for teens. But will Michigan’s ban hurt smokers trying to quit?

Vaping may be bad for teens. But will Michigan’s ban hurt smokers trying to quit?

September 4, 2019 | Robin Erb

Some worry an all-out ban on flavored e-cigarettes will take them away from adults who use them -‒ effectively, according to some studies -‒ to kick smoking.

HPV cancer rates are up. Yet many Michigan doctors won’t talk about it.

HPV cancer rates are up. Yet many Michigan doctors won’t talk about it.

September 4, 2019 | Robin Erb

The conversation can be awkward, but it also can save lives and prevent human papillomavirus. Some doctors and dentists avoid discussing vaccinations because the virus is sexually transmitted.

Planned Parenthood says 42,000 in Michigan at risk from abortion ‘gag rule’

Planned Parenthood says 42,000 in Michigan at risk from abortion ‘gag rule’

August 19, 2019 | Robin Erb

The group said it would withdraw from a federal funding program for low-income patients, citing a rule banning clinics from making abortion referrals to other doctors. Anti-abortion group calls the decision ideological.

Can Mike Duggan demolish his way to a safer Detroit? Studies say maybe

Can Mike Duggan demolish his way to a safer Detroit? Studies say maybe

August 12, 2019 | Robin Erb

Two studies suggest homicides and aggravated assaults in Detroit dropped more in areas with moderate demolitions. The research, while inconclusive, comes as the mayor prepares to ask voters for more money for the demo blitz.

Michigan doctors reach out to LGBTQ community to narrow health disparities

Michigan doctors reach out to LGBTQ community to narrow health disparities

August 6, 2019 | Robin Erb

Simple steps like changing pronouns on intake forms can make a big difference, while other clinics are increasing outreach and services to the LGBTQ community.

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