Proudly wearing her Tea Party Patriot T-shirt, Donna Robinette attended a town hall meeting on Tuesday in Canton about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Canton resident and about 40 others in the crowd heard state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) discuss the local effects of the landmark legislation. "Obamacare," whose provisions have been , troubles her.
"I think people are just not paying attention," Robinette said. "It's going to be horribly expensive."
She said she thinks there are alternatives to the mandate that should have been explored, and at Colbeck's town hall meeting, she was in the majority.
The freshman state senator said he called the town hall to discuss the hallmarks of the law but also to alert the public to Michigan Senate Bill 693, of which he was originally a co-sponsor but ultimately withdrew his support. The bill would create a state exchange in accordance with the federal mandate. The Affordable Care Act holds that if a state does not offer its own exchange, the federal government will create one for it.
"The House is going to be taking up SB 693," he said. "People need to be informed before that happens."
What does the Michigan Marketplace Act call for? It is "a bill to provide for the establishment of the MIHealth marketplace as a nonprofit corporation; to create the board of the MIHealth marketplace and prescribe its powers and duties; to provide for assessments and user fees; and to provide for the powers and duties of certain state and local governmental officers and agencies," according to language in SB 693. The state legislature's website has more details on the role of the marketplace.
Overall, Colbeck said he takes issue with the cost and what he sees as greater government control over individual rights and "reduced quality of care."
"It's the first time in the history of our country that you can be taxed for not doing something," he told the crowd. "This is truly all about control."
He encouraged people in the audience to read the language of the bill. He also encouraged people to apply for a waiver, challenge the act in court, pay the fine and elect representatives that will repeal it. He also said he hoped House representatives will vote down the state exchange and "re-focus" it.
One man in the audience asked, "Senator, do you envision a kind of black market for health care?"
Colbeck said it was a certainty.
Another man in the audience said, "I look at this as the last nail in the coffin of freedom."
On the federal level, some in the House of Representatives have unsuccessfully tried to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 33 times, drawing criticism from Democrats about cost. The Obama administration has long held that the act expands affordable health care to people who might not otherwise have it.