Michigan healthcare professionals say Affordable Care Act is at risk again

It was seven years ago when House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Senate saved it and since then, tens of millions of more Americans have health care because of it. 

However, Michigan doctors say that critical funding could be slashed if some Republicans get their way. 

"It's a lot less expensive to repair the problems that occur if you maintain good care," said Dr. Allen Babcock, a retired orthopedic surgeon.

And that means maintaining health insurance.

Babcock practiced medicine for almost 44 years in Oakland County. He's also part of the Committee to Protect Healthcare, specifically the ACA and its expansion of Medicaid – covering millions of Michiganders.

"Initially, when the ACA came out, I was not for it. But it was primarily because it was a government-run organization," Babcock said. "It serves far more good than it doesn't."

The ACA came under attack in May 2017, when the House voted to terminate it. The Senate did not agree.

"The vast majority of my patients have benefited immensely from the ACA. They got health insurance, many of them for the first time in their adult lives," said Dr. Farhan Bhatti, a family physician who runs a non-profit clinic. 

Bhatti says some Republicans in congress –members of the Republican Study Committee, including Congressman John James and other michigan lawmakers– are seeking to slash funding in their latest budget proposal. 

The budget cuts would include $4.5 trillion from the ACA, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

"40 million people’s health insurance coverage would be at risk," according to a release from the White House. "An additional 69 million people with Medicaid could lose critical services, or could even lose coverage altogether."

Several doctors in Michigan are urging Republicans to improve the ACA instead of dismantling it.

"Taking away people's healthcare will, simply put, endanger people and put our patients' health and well-being at risk," Bhatti said.

Dr. Babcock says he now lives in Macomb County. John James is his congressman. 

"The congressman's constituents – 20% of them are on medicaid, 10% of them are absolutely in poor health. They have diabetes, they smoke," Bobcock said.

Fox two reached out to Rep. James for comment and is still waiting to hear back.

"We hope our elected leaders will listen to doctors, patients, and their own constituents," said Dr. Aisha Harris ,a family medicine doctor in Flint. "We hope they'll work instead to support the ACA and expand this landmark healthcare law."