Elissa Slotkin promises to defend ACA, Social Security, and Medicare

Elissa Slotkin

FILE - Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., speaks to reporters March 2, 2023, in Detroit, about her candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2024. The retirement of Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow has opened a Senate seat in Michigan. The race is expected to be highly competitive with control of the upper chamber on the line in November. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

By Bonnie Fuller

May 7, 2024

As she runs to become Michigan’s next Senator, Elissa Slotkin wants voters to know that Republicans are still very much targeting the programs they rely on for healthcare and retirement security.

The Affordable Care Act is personal to Elissa Slotkin.

Slotkin, a three-term congresswoman and native of Holly, Michigan, whose family created the iconic Ball Park Franks, said that the Republican Party’s years-long crusade against the law is what inspired her own decision to run for the House of Representatives in 2018.

“It was personal to me,” she said of Trump’s efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in his first term as president.

Slotkin’s mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. At the time, she had no health insurance because prior to the ACA, insurance companies could and often did deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Slotkin’s mom had previously survived breast cancer, only for that cancer to be considered a pre-existing condition, which made coverage unattainable for her.

In order to get her mother the medical tests and emergency surgery she desperately needed, Slotkin had to arrange for her mom to declare bankruptcy.

“I would not wish that on my worst enemy,” Slotkin told The ‘Gander in an exclusive interview.

Her mom died from her cancer in 2011, and her suffering still animates Slotkin to this day, as she runs to replace retiring Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Slotkin said it “broke” her when she watched Trump lead a celebration with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 2017, after they voted to repeal the ACA.

“I consider that a dereliction of duty. I consider that a fireable offense, and got in the race a couple months later and fired the guy who voted that way [Republican Mike Bishop],” Slotkin said.

Despite the House voting to repeal the healthcare law, the ACA was ultimately saved by 1 vote in the Senate, where three Republicans—Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and the late John McCain of Arizona—voted with every Democratic Senator to protect the law.

In the years since, the ACA has provided millions more Americans with healthcare. But Slotkin warns that the law remains at risk.

Trump has said during his 2024 presidential campaign that he might once again try to repeal the ACA, even though more than 1.4 million Michiganders get health insurance through the law via its health insurance marketplace and Medicaid expansion program. Millions more also get protections for their pre-existing conditions, so they can’t be denied coverage the way Slotkin’s mom was.

Trump has since walked back that suggestion, stating that he’s “not running to terminate” the ACA, but Democrats remain skeptical and argue he would absolutely target the ACA again if given the opportunity.

Social Security and Medicare are on the GOP’s chopping block, Slotkin warns

In a second term, Republicans might not stop there, either.

Slotkin is urging Michiganders to look at the actions, not the words of their Republican members of Congress when it comes to the subject of Medicare.

“These guys are desperate to privatize Medicare,” she said. “They voted for it a million times. We have to look at their actions, not their words. They will say every day on the campaign trail that they love Social Security and they love Medicare and they vote against them.”

RELATED: GOP Senate candidates’ records suggest they’d back cuts to Social Security and Medicare

In March, the Republican Study Committee (RSC)—which includes 80% of House Republicans, including six Michigan Republicans—released its latest budget proposal, which calls for raising the Social Security retirement age and for converting Medicare to a “premium support model,” which would effectively privatize the program.

Under this model, seniors would receive a subsidy they could use on private plans competing against traditional Medicare. This could lead to thousands of dollars in additional out-of-pocket costs for seniors across the United States, and would siphon Medicare funds to private insurance companies.

“Once you put Medicare services in the hands of a bunch of private companies, then the bottom line becomes the most important thing and they’re going to start cutting services …and it’s just going to get harder and harder to get that care,” Slotkin said. “It will benefit a bunch of very big companies.”

“It will take something that is working, and break it,” she added.

The Congresswoman is equally opposed to scaling back Social Security, which she said Republicans are constantly trying to do.

“People work their entire lives to earn that benefit. It’s not a free thing. They pay into it,” she said. “And there’s talk about raising the age [to receive benefits] and decreasing benefits because it saves money because they’re worried about that. There are plenty of places we need to cut our federal budget. Social Security and Medicare are not those places.”

RELATED: The Republican war on Medicare raises the stakes in 2024

 

Author

  • Bonnie Fuller

    Bonnie Fuller is the former CEO & Editor-in-Chief of HollywoodLife.com, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, USWeekly and YM. She now writes about politics and reproductive rights.

CATEGORIES: POLITICS | HEALTHCARE

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