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Michigan Lawmakers Highlight Need for Senate to Act to Protect Healthcare for All Americans

Patients & Providers Facing Escalating Prescription Costs, Fear of Losing Coverage Because of a Pre-existing Condition, Terrifying Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Washington, June 14, 2019

DEARBORN, MI – Today, Michigan Representatives Debbie Dingell, Brenda Lawrence, Rashida Tlaib, Elissa Slotkin, and Andy Levin hosted “Healthcare for All Americans: a discussion with patients and experts” at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn to highlight the need for the Senate to act now and help Michiganians. The discussion focused on escalating prescription costs, fear of paying more for pre-existing conditions, and terrifying out-of-pocket expenses.

 

An archived live-stream of the event is available here. Photos from the event are available here.

 

Last month, the House of Representatives passed a number of bills that will lower prescription drug prices and make healthcare more affordable and accessible for Americans. The provisions included in the package would increase availability of generic low-cost prescription drugs by reducing barriers to market entry, rescind the junk plan rule, reinforce protections for people with pre-existing conditions so insurance companies cannot discriminate or charge more, and help interested states set up their own state-based marketplaces that outperform the Federal marketplace. The Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the package.

“Every American has the right to quality, affordable healthcare – period,” said Dingell. “We heard what we already knew: healthcare policies are not some academic or partisan debate – this is life or death for people. Neighbors in our own communities are delaying or skipping treatment or drugs because of escalating prescription costs, fear of losing coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and terrifying out-of-pocket expenses. The House has passed strong bills that will lower prescription drug prices and make healthcare more affordable and accessible for Americans. It’s time for the Senate to act.”

“Women in particular are falling victim to this attack against healthcare by the Trump Administration. This population often has inadequate access to care, receive a lower standard of care and have poorer outcomes,” said Lawrence. “For women in underserved communities the risk of being uninsured is a greater risk with 6% of Michigan women within the 19-to-64 age range currently uninsured. The legislation passed by Democrats will provide women with affordable access to insurance for preventative screenings, needed treatments and contraception,” added Representative Lawrence.

 

“For the people living in Michigan’s thirteenth, the third poorest and one of the most polluted in the country, affordable healthcare is uniquely vital to their ability to thrive. I’m honored to have residents and organizations from the district at today’s event to share their stories and proud of my home state delegation for hosting it. We continue to take action in the House to ensure residents have access to affordable, adequate health care and prescription drugs—the Senate must follow. Every action we take together gets us that much closer to what we all need: universal healthcare,” said Tlaib.


“Securing affordable, accessible health care for all is a top priority for me in Congress,” said Levin. “I’m so grateful for the participation of the providers and patients who joined us today, especially Judy Hopp from Huntington Woods. Judy’s story is like so many—she is a special education teacher whose daughter has a condition that requires monthly infusions of an expensive drug. The cost of that drug is what has kept Judy from retiring. We have to move beyond a health care system where people often must choose between paying for essential medicines and retiring or changing jobs. I’m proud to be a part of the House Democratic majority that has made its mission to increase access to health care and lower the cost of prescription drugs.”

Joining the lawmakers were be healthcare leaders and providers from Beaumont, University of Michigan, HUDA Clinic, Covenant Community Care, and Western Wayne Family Health Centers; as well as Southeast Michigan patients who shared their stories of frustration and confusion in affording and accessing the care they need.

"We believe it is important to advocate for our patients and ensure they have access to quality, affordable health care and medication. We were honored to host today's event and look forward to supporting future efforts that that will help our patients receive the care they need,” said Carolyn Wilson, Beaumont Health COO.

“Health insurance makes all the difference in the world to people. Prior to Medicaid expansion in Michigan, half of our patients didn’t have insurance. Now it is less than 10%. That means our patients now can take charge of their overall wellness and not just get care for acute issues…that means medication and coaching to manage chronic disease, preventive medical and dental care, plus vital access to behavioral health services. Healthy people can work, seek better jobs, go to school, take care of their families and be more productive,” said Lisa Rutledge, Special Projects Manager for Western Wayne Family Health Centers.

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