The WØRD – “Anniversaries”


March 23, 2010: President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act with Michigan’s lifelong healthcare advocate Representative John Dingell seated to his left.

From chairperson Lavora Barnes –

Saturday marked the 14th anniversary of the signature achievement of the Obama administration: enactment of the Affordable Care Act, a. k. a. “Obamacare.” Republicans rampaged against the legislation, calling it the potential death knell for the U.S. healthcare system, raising the spectre of government “death panels” deciding who lives and who dies, and predicting it would mean you could no longer choose your doctors.

President Obama fought for the law knowing it could mean he’d be a one-term President. Today in America, the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever, and coverage is more affordable than ever.

There are more than 100 million Americans — friends, family, neighbors, people you love — who can no longer be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. More than 45 million Americans have health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act and millions of seniors have lower prescription drug costs. The Biden administration is expanding the benefits of the ACA with the new ability of Medicare to negotiate prescription costs.

The law has special meaning in Michigan, and the legacy of the Dingell family. The first national healthcare bill was introduced in 1943 by Congressman John Dingell Senior. After his death, the law was reintroduced every session on his birthday by his son, John Dingell Junior. When President Obama signed the law in 2009, John Dingell was seated next to the President and presented with the first pen used to make the law official.

In a hot-mike moment, Vice President Biden famously called it, “a big blanking deal.” It still is.

But if Donald Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress get their way, they will gut the Affordable Care Act and rip away health care from millions — just like they tried to do in 2017.

As we approach the fall election, it’s important to remember that ALL of the Republican U.S. Senate candidates are enemies of the ACA. Mike Rogers, Peter Meijer, Sandy Pensler, and Justin Amash have all vowed to gut the Affordable Care Act which would result in millions of Michiganders being denied health care access and increase costs for families.

During the most recent enrollment period, more than 418,000 Michiganders signed up for affordable health care coverage. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act means “1.3 million Michiganders would lose their insurance and about 1.8 million with pre-existing health conditions could lose critical protections.”

Saturday was also a special anniversary for 323 Michigan families. It was their 10th wedding anniversary. Theirs were the first same-sex weddings in Michigan history. It’s also a part of the legacy of Attorney General Dana Nessel. In 2014, Nessel successfully argued for the plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder, which challenged Michigan’s ban on the statewide legal recognition of same-sex marriage; the case was eventually combined with others and appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States as Obergefell v. Hodges, which led to the nationwide legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Another benefit of that legal effort: Nessel met her wife Alanna Maguire while they were both working on the case. She proposed to Maguire in 2015 outside of the United States Supreme Court. 

This week will be remembered for the enactment of another pro-family law: a statute protecting surrogacy births, and in vitro fertilization. We’re joined by the sponsor of the new law, Representative Samantha Steckloff. The bills are a long overdue win for reproductive rights and would-be parents who can’t conceive on their own. They not only safeguard the rights of biological parents, but also prioritize the protection and the reproductive freedom of those surrogates.

Representative Steckloff is serving her second term representing Michigan’s 19th House District. A lifelong resident of Farmington Hills, Rep. Steckloff has been a consistent and tenacious leader on the issues that impact her communities, as well as the state of Michigan as a whole. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31 which has given her a unique understanding of the need to reform health insurance so no person will go broke battling a life-threatening disease.

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