Some things in life are worth fighting for. The right of every American to quality, affordable health care is one of them.
As we return to Washington this week to an uncertain future for the Affordable Care Act, I am more unsettled, worried and focused than ever before on the responsibility we as elected officials have to our constituents.
During the past 10 days at home, everywhere I went – from the farmers market to the grocery store, to veterans events and parades – people stopped me to share their stories and talk about health care. They are scared, worried and in need of answers.
This week, I wrote a piece for theDetroit Free Pressdetailing some of those stories and the consistent message I heard from constituents while I was home: Don't let them take my health care away.
You can read the full op-ed here.
These are the stories I want Senate Republicans to know as they continue their effort to scrape together the 50 votes needed to pass legislation that would take health care away from 22 million Americans, end Healthy Michigan (Michigan’s Medicaid expansion), reinstate lifetime caps and eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
They need to know about Ryan and Elizabeth Bates and their son Jimmy, who was born 14 weeks premature. At 18 months old, Jimmy has incurred $1.5 million in medical bills due to complications surrounding his birth and developing meningitis at the age of one. Ryan and Elizabeth wonder how a middle class family could pay half a million dollars in out-of-pocket expenses if a lifetime limit of $1 million, as many plans had before the ACA, is reinstated.
They are also terrified they may not be able to afford health care in the future. On top of everything else, being born premature is considered a pre-existing condition.
There are so many stories like Jimmy’s. We must continue to lift up these stories as we fight to protect the care that millions in Michigan and across the country depend upon. I will work with anyone, most assuredly across the aisle, to improve the ACA for every American, but I won't vote for a bad bill.
Some things in life are worth fighting for. This is a fight that defines the heart and soul of who we are as Americans.
Member of Congress
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