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Whitmer signs bills to preserve Affordable Care Act, outlaw LGBTQ discrimination in insurance

A woman in a blue suit speaks at a podium in the Michigan Legislature
Al Goldis/AP
FR11125 AP
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Jan. 25, 2023, at the state Capitol in Lansing.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills Thursday to preserve coverage of the Affordable Care Act in Michigan even if all or part of the law is reversed at the federal level.

More than 322,000 Michiganders are signed up for Healthy Michigan, the state’s version of ACA coverage. Whitmer said this new law would ensure the program remains available even if the federal law is changed or scrapped by Congress or court decisions.

The law guarantees coverage for hospitalization, pregnancy and emergency care, while barring insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The new law also prohibits insurers from denying coverage based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation or expression.

“The ACA includes critical provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions from being charged more, allows kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26 and guarantees essential services in all health insurance plans,” Whitmer said in a statement released by her office.

“Today, I am proud to sign bipartisan bills putting the cost-saving provisions of the ACA into Michigan state law and protect health care for millions of Michiganders.”

Whitmer said the state law guards against reversals such as the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization last year, striking down abortion rights protection. She said that shows states need to step in to secure health coverage.

The bills signed by Whitmer were adopted earlier this month by the Legislature’s Democratic majorities with Republicans mostly voting no or abstaining.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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