AUDIO: Republicans Slam Maternity Care, Pre-Existing Condition Protections
GOP Attorney General Bill Schuette, House and Senate GOP Legislators Call for Removing Coverage, Devastating Those with Cancer, Asthma, Diabetes and More
LANSING — Today, the Michigan Democratic Party launched a website, www.gophealthscam.com, revealing new audio from constituent coffee hours and public events that shows an alarming number of top Michigan Republicans, including those in the state House and state Senate, admitting they do not believe medical care for pregnant women needs to be covered in health care plans.
The new audio comes as Republicans in D.C. continue efforts to sabotage insurance markets, cut health care for millions of Michiganders, and gut protections for life-saving treatments, which could hurt over 4 million people in Michigan with pre-existing health conditions.
Attorney General Bill Schuette, who has promised to eliminate coverage for almost 700,000 Michiganders covered under Healthy Michigan, called required maternity health care and pre-existing condition coverage “stupid” at an event on June 26, 2017 at the Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Southgate:
CITIZEN: I know this is more federal, but health care, the Senate health care. I’m a young person and I have to pay for my own health care, and this whole essential health benefits thing coming with Obamacare is really making me pay a lot more, because I’m paying for maternity care, I —
SCHUETTE: Which is stupid. (AUDIO)
“This new audio exposes how the GOP’s health care agenda threatens pregnant mothers and people with pre-existing conditions like cancer and heart attack survivors,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon. “If Republican politicians have their way we will see massive cost increases and cuts to coverage, all to benefit insurance companies. Democrats’ message is simple: ‘hands off our health care.’”
Several other Republicans in the state Legislature echoed Schuette’s bashing of health care plans requiring coverage for maternity care and essential health benefits, including state Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Ida), state Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), state Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso), state Rep. Tom Barrett (R-Potterville), state Rep. Joseph Bellino(R-Monroe), state Rep. Chris Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids), state Rep. Diana Farrington(R-Utica), state Rep. Jeff Noble (R-Plymouth), state Rep. Mike McCready (R-Birmingham), state Rep. Curt Vanderwall (R-Ludington), state Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance), state Rep. Jim Tedder (R-Lake Orion), state Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo) and state Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Jackson).
Here is Sheppard at his coffee hour at the Great Lakes Eatery & Pub in Dundee on June 26, 2018 agreeing with a male constituent saying he shouldn’t have to pay for maternity care:
“That’s dumb. I mean it’s dumb, I get it. There’s dumb things that we do. It just needs to be fixed to where, how it looks I don’t know. You almost have to reverse the whole system.” (AUDIO)
Here is Farrington at her office hours at the Utica Public Library on June 29, 2017 saying it would “really help keep costs down” to stop including maternity care in health plans:
“I think it would really help keep costs down. Obviously an elderly person is not going to get pregnant. Yeah, I think there could be choices. I can see how that would bring health care costs down.” (AUDIO)
“As a mom of two young children, I am horrified that Attorney General Bill Schuette and his fellow Republicans would say that it’s ‘stupid’ for plans to cover maternity care. And if Republicans get their way and get rid of protections for pre-existing conditions, that would be a disaster for our young family. My husband, Stephen, was born with a pre-existing condition — spina bifida — and is in a wheelchair. It is wrenching knowing that Republicans could cause the cost of our health coverage to skyrocket — or even disappear altogether,” said Heidi Draft-Peppin, a clinical social worker from Grand Rapids.
And here’s state Horn at his office hours at Chesaning Township Hall on June 23, 2017 advocating for kids under 26 to be thrown off their parents’ health plans:
“I would get rid of that. … But there are a number of ways you can handle it, but I want to start treating young people like adults when they turn 18 years old. That’s one of my goals. You know first thing in the system, at 16 you can drive, at 18 you can vote, you can go join the military, at 21 you can drink, but 26 that’s when you become an adult?” (AUDIO)
Michigan House Democrats last year introduced their “Health Care Bill of Rights” to protect essential health benefits and those with pre-existing conditions at the state level if Republicans in Congress cut health care.