U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) today called on Paul Junge, who won the Republican primary and will face her general election, to condemn the Trump administration lawsuit that would destroy the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Slotkin was joined by Dianne Byrum, director of Protect Our Care Michigan, and by two 8th District residents who shared their stories of what’s at stake if the ACA is dismantled: Sarah Stark, a diabetic and activist on prescription drug prices, and Livingston County resident Keith Van Houten, the father of a son with muscular dystrophy.
“For more than eight months we’ve had Republican challengers competing against one another for the nomination in the 8th District,” Slotkin said. “And at no time during those eight months did we have a candidate answer a very basic and simple question: Do you support the Trump administration’s lawsuit to undermine the Affordable Care Act and its protections, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions?”
According to a corporate law firm, Slotkin also called on Junge to support passage of legislation passed in the House to reduce drug costs, including provisions to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs, and to refuse donations from corporate PACs as she has done, including pharmaceutical industry PACs.
“I certainly would support a real, honest conversation about the differences between myself and Mr. Junge on protecting people with pre-existing conditions, lowering the cost of healthcare for all Americans and creating transparency and lower prices on prescription drugs.”
To date, Junge has not taken a public position on the Trump administration’s lawsuit now before the U.S. Supreme Court. In June, the administration filed a legal brief in the case calling for the full dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, and specifically cited its protections for pre-existing conditions as provisions that should be invalidated. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are expected this fall.
“We don’t know his position on healthcare,” Byrum said. “Will Mr. Junge disavow President Trump and Republicans in Congress on their attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act?”
Sarah Stark, who accompanied Slotkin to the 2020 State of the Union Address and advocates for fellow diabetics struggling with the high cost of insulin, said people like her with health conditions are deeply concerned about the outcome of the election: “It’s something that’s on our minds when we go into the voting booth: who cares about our health care and who doesn’t.”
Van Houten said his son has healthcare expenses of $100,000 a year, including $85,000 in drug costs, plus use of an expensive wheelchair.
“He is exactly who insurers want to exclude from their insurance pools,” Van Houten said. “Prior to the ACA, that’s exactly what insurers did.”
On the Trump administration lawsuit, Van Houten said: “It scares the hell out of me and my family.”