Op-Ed: Affordable Care Act Provides Health Care For All
By Rep. Julie Rogers, D-Kalamazoo – Chair, House Health Policy Committee (guest commentator)
Over the past 13 years, the people of Michigan have benefited from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It has become a cornerstone of our health care system.
All Michiganians, regardless of party affiliation, deserve to enjoy good health and have access to the consumer protection provisions granted by the ACA
That’s why, as a Kalamazoo-based physical therapist and chair of the Michigan House Health Policy Committee, I worked with my colleagues to protect the health care of all residents by sponsoring legislation that codified some elements of the Affordable Care Act, such as access to fully covered preventative health care services, into Michigan law.
In Michigan, Democrats have identified opportunities for legislation that protects access to health care. For example, Gov. Whitmer recently signed the last piece of the Reproductive Health Act, ensuring an insurance rider is not needed to have access to safe abortions.
We took these actions knowing that the ACA has never been more popular: A record 16 million Americans signed up for coverage through the marketplaces in 2023.
Access to critical preventative health services, such as breast cancer, heart screenings and women’s health services, has improved dramatically under the Affordable Care Act. Preventative health care services help ward off potential illnesses and identify chronic conditions that require follow-up treatment and drive down health care costs.
Right now, we have so many opportunities to work together in a bipartisan manner. And that is why it is appalling to hear former President Donald Trump and other Republicans threaten to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act, despite how vital it has become to our health care system.
If the ACA were repealed, it would put coverage at risk for nearly 40 million Americans; end guaranteed protections for more than 135 million with pre-existing conditions; hike costs and rip coverage away from millions on Medicaid or who purchase health insurance on their own; throw young adults off their parents’ coverage plans; strip people of free mental health screenings; and end funding for remote rural hospitals, among other things.
Republicans in Congress have made more than 60 failed attempts to repeal or do substantial damage to the law. Not once have they offered an alternative proposal to ensure individuals have access to care in the absence of the ACA. All they have offered is a return to the old system – a system in which millions were uninsured and lacked affordable options to health care coverage.
This is a time to further expand health care, not roll it back. All Americans deserve to have access to quality, affordable health care.
Rep. Julie Rogers, D-Kalamazoo, represents Michigan’s 41st House District and chairs the House Health Policy Committee.