Michigan’s 14 U.S. representatives and two senators fall along party lines in their stated positions regarding the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Republicans generally say they want repeal, Democrats want to keep and improve.
Bridge asked the state’s congressional delegation, and Michigan’s two U.S. Senators, to offer their position on the ACA’s fate (preserve, repeal, replace, delay) and how replacement would work. And we asked about the conversion of Medicaid from a federal/state-administered program to a block-grant system, also said to be under consideration by Congress. Not all replied. Those favoring repeal did not offer many specifics on whether they want an immediate replacement. Their statements are below.
Jack Bergman, R-1
“The number one priority of the next Congress must be to repeal Obamacare. We need real and effective health care reform that empowers citizens to make their own healthcare decisions, not bureaucrats and politicians. Health insurance must be more personal and affordable. Specifically, we should allow for insurance to be purchased across state lines; and promote personalized health savings accounts, which will put you in charge of your health care.” Source.
Bill Huizenga, R-2
“I will fight to replace Obamacare with better solutions that puts patients, families, and doctors in charge of care instead of Washington, D.C. I believe that every American can have access to quality, affordable care by making health insurance portable from job to job so that we no longer have to rely on our employer for insurance. Health savings accounts should be more accessible and easier to use, small businesses and individuals should be allowed to band together to reduce costs, and junk lawsuits must be stopped. Finally, no one should ever have to worry about their coverage being taken away because of their age, income, or medical condition.” Source.
Justin Amash, R-3
Amash has repeatedly voted with the rest of the Republican coalition to repeal portions of the ACA, and has sponsored some measures in the past. Source.
John Moolenaar, R-4
“Health care in America should be about choice. At its core, it’s about American families having the ability to choose the health care plan that best meets their needs. …What (the American people) do want is: lower healthcare premiums; protection of Medicare benefits for seniors; (and) a plan that strengthens the doctor-patient relationship and keeps their private information private.” Source.
Dan Kildee, D-5
Kildee has consistently supported the ACA, and in 2014, criticized Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette for joining an anti-ACA lawsuit. His office distilled his current position this way: “(Kildee) is open to making improvements to ensure that healthcare remains a right for all Americans, but is opposed to repealing the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. He is also opposed to turning Medicaid into a block grant program.”
Fred Upton, R-6
Upton issued this statement: “My focus is on ensuring Michiganders can benefit from better choices at lower costs. I am committed to ensuring health care insurance markets provide more affordable options for families and small businesses, while protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.”
Tim Walberg, R-7
Walberg said, in a statement: ““The president’s healthcare law has led to double-digit premium increases, rising deductibles, and dwindling choices for consumers. Promises that people could keep their plan and doctor were broken. Obamacare is collapsing and families who are hurting need relief. To fix this broken system, we need to repeal Obamacare and have a stable transition to patient-centered health care solutions that give families more choices and lower costs.”
Mike Bishop, R-8
In a statement from his office: “All of us can agree our nation’s healthcare system is far from perfect. While Obamacare has undoubtedly helped some, it has made things far worse for others. In my first term, I received hundreds of correspondences from residents in the 8th District, specifically detailing their own Obamacare horror stories. When a law has unintended consequences, it must be addressed. That’s why I remain focused on delivering more affordable, quality, patient-centered care for everyone.”
Sander Levin, D-9
In a statement, Levin said: “The Affordable Care Act must be preserved. The evidence of its benefits are clear in our state. …The protections in the law are also vital so that no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or women are not charged more for their care. I support strengthening the ACA by doing more to bring down the costs of health care overall and ensure affordability for all individual Americans. Any problems experienced so far in the implementation of the law can and must be addressed through amendments if Republicans were only willing to work together. I oppose turning Medicaid into a block grant. We’ve just seen a report from University of Michigan researchers that Michigan’s Medicaid expansion, Healthy Michigan, has not only expanded coverage to hundreds of thousands of individuals, but also helped to create 30,000 jobs and $2.3 billion in economic activity in the state.”
Paul Mitchell, R-10
Mitchell’s office released a statement reading, “Obamacare is unaffordable and unsustainable. Costs are rising for Michigan families and businesses. Patient access and patient choice is limited. Congressman Mitchell is focused on preserving protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, providing Americans with more choices, lower costs and greater flexibility.”
Dave Trott, R-11
“Dave Trott believes Washington needs to focus on patient-centered health care reforms that strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, lower the costs of health care for Michigan families, and eliminate the big-government mandates imposed by Obamacare. Dave supports free-market solutions such as allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, increasing insurance portability, putting patients in charge of health care spending, ending needless lawsuits, and protecting those with pre-existing conditions.” Source.
Debbie Dingell, D-12
“The Affordable Care Act is not perfect but it has provided a significant benefit to working families across Michigan. …We cannot afford to go backwards, and I will be fighting tooth and nail to protect the health care coverage that 695,000 people in Michigan and 20 million Americans rely upon. Medicare and Medicaid are also in jeopardy. Privatizing Medicare or turning it into a voucher system would mean that Medicare, which is currently a universal insurance program, would cease to exist. Seniors would have to buy private insurance and those who can least afford it would be most penalized. Turning Medicaid into a block grant program and slashing benefits would have a devastating impact on seniors, children and people with disabilities across the country. I will fight for these critical programs with every fiber of my being.”
John Conyers Jr., D-13
“Conyers is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). …Conyers will defend the ACA and press for additional reforms to our health care system that prioritize patients over health insurance industry profits. He is the sponsor of H.R. 676, which would create a publicly-funded, privately-delivered ‘Medicare For All’ national health insurance system. Such a system would ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care.” Source.
Brenda Lawrence, D-14
“I’ll vigorously defend Medicare and Social Security by fighting for progressive policies that respect and protect our seniors. These men and women have earned the right to expect a return on their investment and I intend to deliver. What’s more, I’ll continue to back President Barack Obama and support the Affordable Care Act by loudly rejecting repeated conservative and Tea Party attempts to gut the law.” Source.
Debbie Stabenow, D
“Republicans are preparing to pull the thread that will unravel the entire health care system. Repealing health reform will also cut Medicare prescription drug coverage and Medicaid health benefits for minimum-wage workers and seniors in nursing homes. That includes more than 2 million Michigan residents losing their health insurance. I remain committed to improving health care and lowering costs for Michigan families and small businesses, not recklessly dismantling our health care system. I do not support (the block-grant) approach (to Medicaid). This plan would likely roll back coverage for low-income working families in Michigan, forcing most people to return to using emergency rooms for basic care while driving up costs to hospitals and shifting the costs of medical care back onto those who have insurance. Also, turning Medicaid into block grants would likely slash coverage for seniors living in nursing homes, individuals with disabilities and those living with a mental illness, children, and pregnant women.”
Gary Peters, D
“The Affordable Care Act has brought the rate of uninsured Americans to record lows. Dismantling the health care law with no clear plan to replace it would strip away health care coverage from millions of Americans, undermine the financial security of Medicare and increase prescription drug prices, premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Michigan seniors and families. Congress should focus on finding bipartisan ways to improve the Affordable Care Act and ensure that all Americans can access quality and affordable health care.”