LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday ramped up her criticism of Republican Bill Schuette over health care, accusing him of thinking insurers should be able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Schuette’s campaign called the allegation a “blatant lie” and said he has been on the record since 2012 supporting protections within former President Barack Obama’s health care law for those with pre-existing conditions.
Whitmer makes the attack in her campaign’s first TV ad of the general election, though she has appeared in other ads aired by a group backed by the Democratic Governors Association. She recalls having to fight a health insurer to cover her dying mother’s chemotherapy as she battled brain cancer, which she also recounted in an ad that ran before the August primary.
“A lot of you have faced those same battles,” she said before accusing Schuette of supporting insurance companies’ ability to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. “I don’t and as governor, it’s you I’ll protect — not them.”
As attorney general, Schuette joined with other GOP attorneys general in litigation seeking to overturn the federal health law. Democrats have been criticizing him for not fighting a separate lawsuit that threatens the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions that Obama’s law put in place. The attack was featured in a DGA-affiliated ad that was launched more than two weeks ago.
Schuette told The Associated Press last month that the health law “was a failure” and “didn’t work,” but he added that he has said “from day one” that any overhaul of the law should retain coverage for pre-existing conditions, allow children to be on a parent’s plan until age 26 and make health insurance more portable.
The law requires insurers to take all applicants, regardless of medical history, and patients with health problems pay the same standard premiums as healthy ones. Bills supported last year by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the law could have pushed up costs for people with pre-existing conditions.