Congressman Dan Kildee speaks out against Michigan AG Bill Schuette for turning people into political pawns.
The King v. Burwell case disputing the legitimacy of tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) wasn’t the first attack on the law and it probably won’t be the last. But with every victory for Obamacare, an increasingly bright light is being cast on the craven, cynical actions of the law’s opponents.
U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-5) always tells it like it is, and he’s been vocal about Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s decision last year to join the crusade against the ACA in a federal lawsuit to eliminate the law’s subsidies.
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 25th decision in favor of the ACA, the estimated 300,000 Michiganders who received tax subsidies are among the big winners. AG Schuette, well, not so much.
Rep. Kildee says he’s relieved by the ruling, although he expected the court to make the decision they did. But that’s not all he had to say.
It was such a cynical move by Mr. Schuette and others to take this to the Supreme Court. They paid the price — but, unfortunately, they sent the bill to the taxpayers.
We don’t yet know the actual cost to Michigan taxpayers, although Rep. Kildee says we should find out how much was spent by AG Schuette and his staff to pursue a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But he thinks Michigan residents have already paid dearly in another way.
The real cost was that they put doubt in the minds of people who work hard every day and just want to buy healthcare at a reasonable price. It was a very cynical abuse of public trust, to try to prevent Michigan residents from having more affordable access to healthcare to make a political point about a law that is the law of the land.
Rep. Kildee adds that AG Schuette is now doubling down by criticizing the Supreme Court’s decision. According to The Oakland Press, AG Schuette made this statement: “The Affordable Care Act violated the very first principle of medicine: Do no harm. The court’s ruling today continues the harm inflicted by Obamacare.”
The real harm, says Rep. Kildee, would have been if the subsidies had been struck down.
The tax subsidies don’t cost the state any money. What would have cost Michigan money is if people lost their insurance, because when people are sicker it costs everyone — including the state — more money.
The thing that’s beyond my comprehension is that a state official would sue the federal government to prevent our own residents from getting help. It was an enormous example of political ego to put their own opinions on federal policy ahead of the interests of sick people in Michigan who are trying to get well. Shame on them.
Rep. Kildee doesn’t expect the battle over Obamacare in Congress to end here. Although he thinks the willingness of rank and file Republicans to oppose the law will begin to wane, the “antagonists” will continue to look for other ways to defeat the ACA.
“I wish Congress would turn its attention to making this law work,” he says. “Just like any law, it’s not perfect — there are things that can be improved. And we should be focused on that instead of trying to score political points.”
As for AG Schuette, Rep. Kildee has some advice:
Politics has its place, and opinions and different points of view should be heard, but to use Michigan residents as a pawn in his political differences with President Obama is too cynical for my taste.
My advice to Mr. Schuette is the next time he wants to have an opinion about a federal law, he should either hold a press conference or run for Congress, and leave Michigan’s people out of it.
[Graphic by Sarah Burris; photo of Rep. Kildee courtesy of the Congressman’s office.]