Letter: Democrats lead on health care

The Detroit News

Re: The Detroit News' Sept. 12 column, "Democrats butcher health care debate": Nolan Finley wrote a heavily critical opinion piece attacking Democrats’ record on health care, conflating the introduction of the Affordable Care Act with our country’s current health care woes.

This opinion misses the fundamental principle all the Democrats are fighting for: guaranteeing health care as a human right.

Such a right would prevent more than 30,000 annual deaths from lack of health care in America. That is the only way we can be true to our foundational idea that all citizens are endowed with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

While Democrats work to expand on the Affordable Care Act, championed by former President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump and Republicans wage war on our health care, Palavali writes.

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have tried time and again to rip apart our health care laws, which has driven up costs and limited access to care. The administration has pushed junk insurance plans that allow for discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, severely limited advertising for information about open enrollment, and slashed funding for groups that help people sign up for comprehensive plans.

The administration has fought to impose work requirements on Medicaid – appealing federal court rulings that blocked such requirements because they are illegal – and repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which drove up costs across the board in 2019. 

The Affordable Care Act provided many benefits to millions of citizens. It was not perfect, but was noble in its intention; to provide basic health insurance to every American citizen.

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama bore the brunt of blame for the problems some of the citizens faced under ACA. The actual culprits are the greedy profit-oriented health insurance companies who, while making billions of profit still withdrew from insurance exchanges and raised premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of uninsured Americans has increased, and we have Trump and Republicans to thank.

Consider Texas v. United States, the lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Despite failing to repeal and replace the law in Congress in 2017, Trump and Republicans are attempting to use our courts to completely overturn the law.

While Democrats in Congress work to expand on the Affordable Care Act and deliver lower-cost, high-quality care, Republicans, who have neither a plan nor a clue about how to bring affordable health care to all citizens, continue to wage war on our health care laws, and Michiganians are suffering for it.

Dr. Vivek Palavali, neurosurgeon