Local Health Care Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Call for an End to GOP Attacks on Michiganders’ Health Care
Dr. Matt Longjohn speaks in front of Care Force One in Kalamazoo.
MICHIGAN – Today, Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour arrived in Michigan to call attention to Republicans’ ongoing war on health care care. Joined by Dr. Matt Longjohn, Sean McCann, former Rep. Mark Schauer, State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., State Rep. Sam Singh, and cancer survivor Laura Packard, events in Lansing and Kalamazoo highlighted the actions Republicans are taking to harm Michiganders’ care and called on Attorney General Bill Schuette to work instead to protect our care.
“I’m alive because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Packard. “I’m a stage four cancer survivor and I’m on this tour to defend our attacks against the GOP. President Trump may have blocked me on Twitter, but he can’t stop me and the American people from fighting to protect our care.”
Support for the ACA was echoed by Dr. Matt Longjohn and Sean McCann.
“The [Affordable Care Act] was good at protecting patients. It made sure that insurance companies weren’t selling junk on the marketplace. It made sure that there was coverage for essential health benefits and pre-existing conditions,” said Longjohn. “When the Republicans in the House in Washington, D.C. are assailing protections for pre-existing conditions and allowing insurance companies to sell junk, they’re putting corporate interests ahead of people’s interests.”
“One of things I’m most proud of that I had the opportunity to do was to press a button on my desk as a state representative and expand Medicaid in Michigan to over 600,000 citizens,” said McCann. “At the end of the day, the question that we have to ask in our hearts is…who do you trust? Who do you trust to expand our health care coverage and take care of our Michigan citizens? And who has constantly wanted to chip away, take that away, and repeal those benefits? It’s clear the Republican Party wants to do that.”
Longjohn, McCann, and Packard were joined by Christine Morse, a breast cancer survivor who spoke about the need for maintain protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and Erin Knott, Kalamazoo Vice Mayor and former state director of Enroll America, who spoke of the long fight to pass health care reform and the benefits Michiganders have seen since the ACA was signed into law.
Before heading to Kalamazoo, Care Force one was at the State Capitol in Lansing with former Representative Mark Schauer, State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., State Rep. Sam Singh, and local health care advocates including Amanda Itliong, who is battling ovarian cancer for the fourth time in ten years.
State Rep. Sam Singh speaks in front of Care Force One in Lansing.
“To me, it’s preposterous that we have to have this conversation in 2018,” said State Rep. Sam Singh. “Republicans don’t understand how important health care is… For us to see [Republicans] turning their back on our common citizens is beyond me.”
Amanda Itliong speaks in front of Care Force One in Lansing.
“In 2015, I was left for dead by medical science,” said Itliong. “I know personally that my family and friends would go bankrupt to do anything to help me, but i think that’s a really lousy thing to have to do for so many of us in Michigan, and that’s the fear that we live with that’s on top of so many other people’s chronic illness.
“Mike Bishop is my representative, but he doesn’t represent me or others with pre-existing conditions.”
The elected officials and Itliong were joined by health care expert Charles Gaba, who spoke of the gains made under the Affordable Care Act.
At today’s events, Michigan residents, health care advocates, elected officials, and members of Protect Our Care detailed the numbers ways in which Republicans have attacked health care, and how these actions have cut coverage and increased costs for Michiganders. Because of the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda:
- Michiganders could see their premiums rise by as much as 11 percent next year. It’s expected that 40 year old Michiganders would face paying an extra $500 for marketplace coverage in 2019 because of sabotage of the ACA.
- Michigan expanded Medicaid under the ACA and the more than 655,000 Michiganders who have gained coverage because of this program would find their care at risk if the law were repealed.
- 284,000 Michiganders who have obtained health insurance through the ACA marketplace could lose their coverage if a judge sides with President Trump and the GOP in their lawsuit; and protections for 4.1 million Michiganders, including more than 300,000 in MI-08 living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy.
- Hundreds of billions of dollars have been cut from Medicare.
- Dozens of hospitals in rural areas have closed, including Cheboygan Memorial Hospital (2012) in Michigan, exacerbating the care and coverage gaps that exist for families in America’s rural communities.
- Representative Mike Bishop voted for a health care repeal bill that would cause 23 million people to lose coverage and gut protections for people with pre-existing condition and voted for a budget amendment that would cut Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone. Bishop also voted for a tax scam that doubled as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act by kicking 13 million people off of their insurance and raising premiums by double digits for millions more.
- Representative Fred Upton helped author and passed a health care repeal bill that would cause 23 million people to lose coverage and gut protections for people with pre-existing condition and voted for a budget amendment that would cut Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone. Upton also voted for a tax scam that doubled as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act by kicking 13 million people off of their insurance and raising premiums by double digits for millions more.
- Attorney General Bill Schuette opposed expanding Medicaid to over 650,000 Michiganders and has promised to work to repeal the Affordable Care Act as governor.
Later today, “Care Force One” will head to South Bend, Indiana with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. For more information, please visit protectourcarebustour.com.