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Michigan Democrats girding to defend Obamacare

The U.S. Capitol.
Crazy George
The U.S. Capitol.

The Affordable Care Act is shaping up to be one of the first big battles of the new congressional session. Republicans have promised to repeal it. Democrats are girded to defend it. And there’s a lot at stake for Michigan.

Republicans have still not agreed on what will replace Obamacare. But they say something needs to be done to make healthcare more affordable, and the law has not solved that problem.

Democrats like Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee say they may be in the minority, but they’re defending a law that has a lot of popular elements Republicans have promised to keep.

“They can call it what they want, but what they’re going to come up with in a replacement is going to look, and walk, and sound a lot like the Affordable Care Act,” said Kildee.

Meanwhile, freshman Republican Congressman Paul Mitchell of Michigan says the ACA has not made health care affordable, and defenders of the law are using scare tactics.

“We shouldn’t write policy and try to get it passed by scaring the be-jeebers out of people,” he said. “It’s just morally wrong. It just is. Let’s stop using fear to try and pressure members of Congress.”

Mitchell says repealing and replacing Obamacare can be done in stages, and without people losing coverage.

390,000 people in Michigan have purchased insurance on the federal health care exchange. Another 640,000 thousand people have signed up for the expanded Medicaid program that’s part of the law. And hospitals say that’s saving lots of money on unneeded emergency room visits. 

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