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Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Talks Future of ACA, November Election

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Image credit: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Sebelius, a former governor, lauds Gov. Whitmer’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic in Michigan.

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Healthcare is one of the top issues on the ballot in 2020. According to a study from Pew Research Center, only the economy ranks higher in terms of importance for voters this November. 

Every Republican who ran two years ago said we protect people with pre-existing health conditions, and it’s just a lie.” — Kathleen Sebelius,  former secretary of Health and Human Services.

Candidates are sparring over ways to reduce costs and make health care more affordable. Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hangs in the balance as a case that could dismantle the law goes before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kathleen Sebelius served as secretary of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama and played a leading role in implementing the ACA. She also served as governor of Kansas and ran that state’s insurance agency.

She tells WDET’s Jake Neher that voters should be skeptical of candidates who say they want to dismantle the ACA but also claim to support protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Every Republican who ran two years ago said we protect people with pre-existing health conditions, and it’s just a lie,” says Sebelius. “Unless the law says to the insurance companies that you cannot do business in this country or in this state unless you follow the rules and say you have to sell insurance to everyone who wants it and, secondly, you cannot charge more to people who have preexisting health conditions, that’s the only thing that protects people.”

Governor Whitmer I know has taken incredible grief and an enormous personal toll, having people threaten her life…And has fought the president of the United States who has done nothing.” - Kathleen Sebelius, former secretary of Health and Human Services.

Sebelius, a former governor, also weighs in on the position governors across the country have been in since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She excoriates President Trump for failing to implement a nationwide response and guidelines for states to follow. And she gives special praise to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her handling of the pandemic.

I have been really impressed with the level of leadership shown by individual states,” she says. “Governor Whitmer I know has taken incredible grief and an enormous personal toll, having people threaten her life…And has fought the president of the United States who has done nothing.”

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Jake Neher, Producer, Detroit Today

Jake Neher is a producer and reporter for Detroit Today. He has formerly reported on the Michigan legislature.

Jake.Neher@wdet.org Follow @GJNeher

2020 Voter Information Center

This post is a part of 2020 Voter Information Center.

This year's November federal, state and local elections are unprecedented in many ways, most significantly the expected surge in absentee voting in Michigan due to the coronavirus pandemic. 101.9 WDET is committed to offering trusted, accurate information on voting, ballot access and key issues. 

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