Mid-Michigan Dems fight to save Affordable Care Act 

Laura Packard speaking at a pro-ACA event in Lansing | Byrum-Fisk photo

Laura Packard says she’s fighting to protect her own health and the well-being of millions of Americans.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) saved my life, which is how I know that Republicans’ continued attacks on health care represent a literal life-or-death scenario for millions of Americans,” said Packard, a former Michigander, small business owner and stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer survivor.

Laura Packard: Trump is trying to kill the legislation that saved my life

Packard was part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide Health Care Emergency Bus Tour arrived in Lansing last week to call attention to what activists called the Republican Party’s “ongoing war on health care” and the threat posed by Texas v. United States, the GOP lawsuit to overturn the ACA, to which the President Trump administration has signed on.

Health care was a huge issue for Democrats during a successful 2018 election cycle and Michigan Dems have held several events and conference calls blasting the anti-ACA lawsuit.

Speakers at last week’s event included state Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing), Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Twp.), Dr. Farhan Bhatti, Care Free Medical Lansing CEO and medical director, as well as patient advocates. Each highlighted how the lawsuit would harm Michiganders’ care if it’s successful.

They also called on Republicans to denounce the lawsuit and outlined Democrats’ ideas for improving health care and lowering costs for Americans.

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“Michiganders who depend on the ACA are tired of the repeated attempts to destroy their health care and are speaking out about the emergency the Texas v. United States lawsuit created,” said Hertel. “Our message to Republicans today is clear: Stop your relentless attacks on our health care and denounce the president’s egregious lawsuit.”

Anthony said at the press conference that U.S. Rep Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), her congresswoman, has been a leader in passing legislation to lower the costs of prescription drugs, make health care more affordable and strengthen protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Slotkin did not attend the event.

“Rep. Slotkin and her Democratic colleagues in the U.S. House are leading the fight against Trump’s lawsuit to overturn health care that will raise costs and end coverage for millions of Americans,” Anthony said.

Slotkin recalls mom’s cancer diagnosis while voting for pre-existing protections bill

In 2018, Slotkin defeated then-U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), in part, by pledging to protect the ACA, especially for those with pre-existing conditions. Her mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer, something she spoke about during the campaign and again in a House floor speech in May.

Brixie said that the health care of millions of Michigan residents is at stake with the new lawsuit. 

“This war on health care fails to account for the benefits the ACA has provided real people and would overturn our health care laws and lead to increased costs, worse coverage and millions of Americans losing their health insurance,” she said.   

The bus tour has made several stops in recent months, including visits in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Maine, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. 

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.


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