Did Michigan cover up nursing home COVID deaths like New York?

Michigan is one of only two states where the governor is exempt from Freedom of Information laws, and the only state where that exemption is written into statute. Thanks to this exemption, the governor has no obligation to produce any records whatsoever, despite making decisions affecting the lives of every Michigander.

Gov. Whitmer has used this veil of secrecy to act with impunity. Her office has almost single-handedly dictated the state’s COVID-19 policies, without disclosing the data she has used to make her decisions. After the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the statute Gov. Whitmer relied on for her emergency authority, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services became the vessel for COVID decision-making. Yet while that department is subject to FOIA, it has not been any more transparent. The state continues to release information about the number of cases and deaths but not the underlying records…

While the department could have easily released this data, it claimed the details would reveal protected health information. Yet records with even more specific data — such as death certificates — are already available for public purchase, and the department has released some information drawn from these records already.