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Finding Middle Ground in Obamacare Debate

Nearly 294,000 Michiganders are enrolled in a federal insurance marketplace plan for 2018. (
Nearly 294,000 Michiganders are enrolled in a federal insurance marketplace plan for 2018. (
July 31, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – The future of health-care coverage is top of mind for many Michiganders, who will be heading to the polls next week for the state's primary election. While Republican lawmakers work to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and some Democrats promote a government-run system, others ask, 'Why not consider a middle ground?'

As an emergency-room physician and chair of the American Heart Association State Advocacy Committee in Michigan, Dr. Brad Uren contends the country needs to build on what's working in the current system and fix what isn't – all while remembering what's most important.

"I would never want to see a process that comes into place that would disrupt a patient's ability to get the care that they need, the follow-up care that they need, the prescriptions that they need," he says. "Change can be a positive thing if it's done thoughtfully and we're making sure that we're always keeping what's most important front of mind, and that's the patient."

Uren says Michigan and the nation need a health-care system that ensures all people have access to affordable quality medical coverage, that empowers patients and expands access to quality medical professionals.

The Affordable Care Act helped cut the uninsured rate in Michigan in half between 2013 and 2016. And the pre-existing condition protections are helping people such as Darlene Twymon, a patient advocate and coordinator for Patient Partners in Michigan.

"I have a pre-existing condition and I am developing other conditions as I get older, as is my husband," she explains. "So I really appreciate the fact that we have insurance."

Uren says the bottom line is that more patients are getting the care they need when they need it.

"As more and more people get coverage and get access to preventive care, that actually helps people to get the care they need before it comes to an emergency," Uren adds. "And if they still have an emergency, I know that I can send these people to follow-up care and they can get that care because they have the coverage. So it's really been quite a win for patients."

Federal insurance marketplace enrollment in Michigan for 2018 was nearly 294,000 people, and nine insurers are expected to offer plans for 2019.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI