Michigan’s Largest Health Insurer Weighs in on the Future of Health Coverage

“We need to find ways to meet in the middle.”

Jake Neher/WDET

It looks like Republicans in the U.S. Senate have once again failed to come up with a plan to repeal, replace, or dismantle Obamacare.

Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, John McCain of Arizona, and Susan Collins of Maine have all come out against the latest plan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will not vote on the bill this week.

It would have meant millions more uninsured Americans, weakened protections for people with preexisting conditions, and would have meant big cuts in funding for some states — including Michigan — that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

But Republicans still say they’re intent on passing legislation to overhaul federal health care law. Is it time for a real bipartisan effort to fix the flaws in our health care system? And what will all this mean for insurers here in Michigan?

Andy Hetzel, Vice President of Communications at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan joins host Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act, and what needs to change. He says the healthcare debate is fraught because it became too politicized. The ACA was passed with primarily Democratic support, and the repeal plan was supported only by Republicans.

“And here we are,” says Hetzel. 

He says lawmakers need to think differently about their approach.

“What can we do, working together… to fix the flaws?… We need to find ways to meet in the middle.”

Hetzel says there are some issues Democrats and Republicans could find agreement on, such as winding down some ACA taxes, and cost-share reduction that would help people afford services. But, he says, politics complicate bipartisanship in Washington right now.

“The political climate is a challenge. It’s an obstacle. Both sides are entrenched.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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