Stabenow, Peters Join Health Care Leaders and Patients in Opposition to Last-Ditch Republican Effort to Take Away Health Care from Michigan Families

Friday, September 22, 2017

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today joined health care leaders and patients in opposition to the last-ditch Republican effort to take away health care from Michigan families.  The bill, known as the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal, hurts millions of children, older Americans, and people with disabilities and removes protections for patients with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  Republicans are attempting to jam this proposal through Congress before a September 30th deadline. 


By the time this Republican proposal is fully in effect, the State of Michigan would lose $140 billion.  That cut is nearly three times the size of Michigan’s total Fiscal Year 2018 budget


“The latest Republican proposal is the most harmful and irresponsible yet for Michigan families,” said Senator Stabenow.  “I am focused on lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs and making sure critical funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers is extended before they expire on September 30th.  Instead of rushing to pass a bill that dramatically raises costs and takes away health care from tens of millions of Americans, Congress should be taking action so that children and families have the affordable health care they need.”


“If this bill passes, Michiganders will be forced to pay more money for less care. Costs for older Americans will skyrocket and insurance companies will once again be free to discriminate against individuals with preexisting conditions,” said Senator Peters. “I urge my Republican colleagues to listen to the experts and families here in Michigan and start working in a bipartisan manner to lower costs and improve care.”


The Senators were joined by leaders from the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, and the Michigan Primary Care Association, in addition to people in Michigan who would be hurt by the latest Republican proposal. 


“We cannot roll back the most important parts of the ACA, which has provided health care coverage to more than 930,000 Michiganders,” said Wright Lassiter III, President & CEO of Henry Ford Health System. “We urge continuing efforts to improve upon the ACA without the detrimental impact of the Graham-Cassidy proposal.”


“The bill from Senators Graham and Cassidy fails children,” said Dr. Sharon Swindell, President-Elect of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Children make up the largest group of people who rely on Medicaid. By turning Medicaid into a block grant, capping its funding and ending its expansion, this proposal would have devastating effects on the 1.2 million Michigan children who rely on Medicaid—dismantling the way that Medicaid has functioned for the last 52 years. We have reached historic levels of health coverage in Michigan children at 97% and cannot and should not go backwards.”


“Graham-Cassidy isn't a fix to what ails our nation: it's a broken promise to the American people,” said Loretta V. Bush, CEO of Michigan Primary Care Association. “If passed, millions of Michiganders, especially those currently covered by Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan, will lose access to the care and coverage they rely on to work, play, and live their lives. If the health center movement has taught us anything, it’s that bipartisan solutions to our national health care challenge are possible. It's time for Congress to focus on what works."


“The MHA believes that every resident in Michigan deserves affordable, high-quality healthcare coverage and access to care in the right place at the right time,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan Health & Hospital Association. “Our member hospitals and health systems cannot support the Graham-Cassidy-Heller legislation that eviscerates healthcare coverage and access to care on such a large scale.  We applaud the efforts of Michigan Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to protect coverage and access for the people of our state.”


“I have had to be an advocate for my daughter’s right to have support for her disabilities throughout her entire 37 years of life,” said Chris Lerchen, Executive Director of the Arc of Northwest Wayne County and parent of an adult daughter with disabilities supported by Medicaid.  “For her to have a quality education, transition from school to adult life with a job and home in the community.   Medicaid supports her right as a U.S. citizen to live and work in the community and reach her full potential in life.  I will not support changes to healthcare that take those rights away.”


“Our daughter Louisa is just like any other little girl – she loves swinging on the swing set, playing with her brother, reading stories, and listening to music,” said Andrea and Tom Pietrowsky. “Except Louisa was born with only half of her heart and has been dependent on a ventilator for the first 2.5 years of her life.  One day, she will likely need a heart transplant.  We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received because of the current health care law.  During multiple heart surgeries and hospital visits, we haven’t had to be afraid that an insurance company could tell us she is not insurable or has met her lifetime limit on care.  This newest Republican health care bill could put us into bankruptcy or cost our daughter her life if necessary procedures were delayed while negotiating costs and coverage. We cannot afford for it to pass.”