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Bills would ensure ACA coverage in Michigan

Bills to put key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act into state law are working their way through the Legislature.

The bills were adopted on bipartisan votes in the House last week, but were all sponsored by Democrats in the House majority.

Democratic Representative Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) said the goal is to eliminate uncertainty over health coverage in the face of continued federal court challenges to provisions of the ACA.

“The main thing we would hope is that the federal government never overthrows the ACA and that they continue to provide this access to health care,” he told Michigan Public Radio.

Some Republicans complained the measures go beyond what’s required by the ACA, the federal health care law also known as “Obamacare.”

The House package would guarantee minimum coverage requirements, would enact protections for people with pre-existing conditions and dependents under the age of 26, and forbid denying coverage based on gender identity or sexual orientation. The bills would also prohibit lifetime dollar limits on insurance benefits.

Koleszar said if the bills are signed into law, Michigan would join 14 other states that ensure ACA coverage will remain available regardless of what happens in federal courts.

“Every so often you do see a concerted effort to overturn the ACA at the Supreme Court level, so we know that there have been attempts before and there likely will be attempts again so we became the 15th state to pass something like this to make sure that the residents here will keep their health care regardless of what’s going on there,” he said.

The House bills now go to the Senate, where Democrats are already working on their own health care legislation.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.