Members of Indivisible Traverse City and concerned citizens met Sunday, August 20th, at the Workshop Brewery to hear Democratic Representative Christine Greig from Farmington, Michigan, and Charles Gaba, a national health care specialist, speak on the aspects and provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This portion of our report will focus on the information given by Rep. Grieg. Part Two by Linda Pepper will focus on Charles Gaba's presentation.
Rep. Greig said that increasingly states are having to move forward with legislation to protect the people of their states against the draconian safety net cuts being proposed by Republicans and the Trump administration. Democrats in Michigan have introduced the Michigan Health Care Bill of Rights that would protect people with pre-existing conditions, stop the Republican ‘Age Tax,’ prevent massive rate hikes on people, protect essential health benefits and prevent annual or lifetime health care coverage caps Michigan citizens can sign a petition in support of the Health Care Bill of Rights by visiting www.protectmihealthcare.com.
She alerted us to the fact that Republican Representative Gary Glenn has introduced H.S. 4598 that will freeze Medicaid enrollment in Michigan. She urged us to take action to oppose this bill by calling Rep. Glenn at 517-373-1791 or email him at GaryGlenn@house.mi.gov. We should also call the chair of the Committee on Health Policy, Rep. Hank Vaupel, at 517-373-8835, or email him at HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. She stressed that grassroots opposition is having a big effect on stalling and defeating the Republican agenda. What we do matters. Due to heavy opposition, many bills never reach the House floor for a vote.
Rep. Greig is a member of the Progressive Women’s Caucus and as such is championing the Parental Sick Leave Bill and the Reproductive Rights Bill package.
Rep. Greig said in response to whether or not Democrats support Medicare For All, that she supports equal, universal health care coverage. There are a number of ways to achieve this. She supports the Public Option in the ACA which when embraced by all the states would allow anyone who cannot afford health care coverage to be subsidized through Medicaid. She also supports allowing people to buy in to Medicare no matter what their age. She thinks that policies like these, along with Sen. Stabenow’s bill to reduce the eligibility for Medicare to 55, will move us along toward achieving universal coverage. Universal health care will uncouple health insurance from employers.
In order to reduce health care costs, we need to work on stopping the price gouging by drug companies. Drug costs need to be controlled by negotiation as Medicare and Medicaid do by volume purchasing. She stressed that in order to get health care for all we change values and get the dark money out of politics. Big Pharma Lobbyists must be curtailed. Medicaid Expansion is the law here in Michigan, but it could be repealed if the ACA is not funded in the current budget.
Rep. Greig She recommended getting the Citizen Guide to State Government which explains how to contact our legislators such as Rep. Inman and Senator Schmidt. These are free. Just call your representative and they will send it. It also has Committee Chairmen and these are your best bet for influencing legislation that you do or do not want to see enacted. She warned that BECAUSE OF GERRYMANDERING AND SAFE SEATS, YOUR REPRESENTATIVE MAY BE UNRESPONSIVE TO YOUR VIEWS.
In closing Rep. Greig reiterated her Call to Action by urging us to call to oppose H.S. 4598, and by calling Rep. Jack Bergman to urge him to sign on to censure President Trump for his weak response to the events in Charlottesville, and his failure to unequivocally denounce the white supremacy movement in the United States.