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Michigan doctors and patients urge Congress to keep the Affordable Care Act

Jan 9, 2017

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the days leading up to president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Michigan doctors and parents are speaking out against one of his biggest promises.

Trump and many Republicans in Congress are promising to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Those against “Obamacare” say its premiums are too high and it doesn’t provide enough choice. But at a press conference on Monday, several Michigan doctors and patients spoke out in favor of the Act, particularly how it helps children with cancer.

Sharon Swindell is the president-elect of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“I think it gets back to one of the basic questions as a nation, ‘Is healthcare a privilege or a right?’” she said. “And if it’s a right then we have to start with finding a way to ensure everyone.”

Swindell said that the health of children should not be a partisan issue and if Republicans do repeal the act, they should have a new system in place before ending the health insurance.

But many Republicans argue “Obamacare” is not working, saying in part that patients are not given enough control over their medical care. 

Communications Director for the Michigan Republican Party Sarah Anderson said, “We want to find a system where people who need care get care, but the patients and families and doctors are in charge of their healthcare and not the government.”

Governor Rick Snyder has cautioned against a blanket repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in Washington have yet to reveal a specific plan for replacing the act.

Dr. David Dickens of Grand Rapids also spoke out against repealing the Affordable Care Act saying it will stunt progress and innovation in medical research in Michigan.

“We are poised in this state to make a big move in discovery,” he said. “We have a lot of institutions and a lot of people who are poised to make significant discoveries at many of the institutions within this state.”

Dickens said children would be hit especially hard because they would, among other things, lose insurance coverage for clinical health trials, which is one of the best ways to treat children with cancer.