LANSING — House Democrats stood this morning against a Republican proposal to take health care away from hundreds of thousands of Michiganders by creating unnecessary, bureaucratic red tape. A group of state legislators presented Senate Bill 897 to the House Appropriations Committee this morning for public input, however Democratic attempts to ask questions about this significant legislation or engage with the public were denied by the Republican chair.

 “Republicans in Washington, D.C. failed to pass legislation to take health care away from millions of Americans, so now they’ve brought their bad policies to the states,” said state Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) Democratic vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. “Even Republicans know that this piece of legislation can’t withstand public scrutiny which is why they refused to allow committee members to ask questions or talk to members of the public. That isn’t how good government works. When we are talking about a plan that will take health care away from hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, Michiganders deserve better than to be silenced.”

Senate Bill 897 as introduced would create an unnecessary layer of bureaucratic red tape for Michiganders who need health care for themselves or their family members. While Republicans and their financial backers argue that the legislation will put people to work, it includes no mechanisms or funding to help those who are not already working find employment and it ignores national data that shows 8 in 10 Medicaid recipients live in working families.

          “No one should ever have to worry about having their health care taken away,” said state Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason). “Yet instead of fighting to lower health care costs legislative Republicans are rushing this bill through because they think it’ll prove some kind of point. Unfortunately the only point they’re proving is how completely out of touch they are with the needs of everyday Michiganders.”

          House Democrats have been consistent in their fight to protect health care access in Michigan, despite pushes from Republicans at the state and federal level to take it away. Last year House Democrats unveiled their plan to create the Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board, to protect working families against outrageous price spikes for life-saving medication. A few weeks ago, Democrats expanded on that work when they introduced legislation to make the popular Healthy Michigan program permanent, a program which created nearly 40,000 jobs and contributed billions to the state economy.

          “Just last night, the disabled son of a friend of mine was kicked off Medicaid due to a glitch in the system,” said state Rep. Pam Faris (D-Clio). “Bureaucratic red tape already makes it nearly impossible for the most vulnerable among us — a child with a rare genetic condition — to receive the care they need, yet instead of working to solve those issues Republicans in Lansing are focused on ways to strip access from thousands more. I cannot think of anything more heartless, and my Democratic colleagues and I will continue to stand against it.”