In Michigan
4:46 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

House panel opens hearings on health care exchange

LANSING, MI –

Tea Party activists and health care advocates packed a public hearing Thursday at the state Capitol. State lawmakers will decide over whether Michigan should create a website that would allow people to comparison shop for health insurance.

As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, most people who showed up used he event to voice their opinion on the federal Affordable Care Act.

The online health care exchange is required under the new health care law, which is why many Republicans at the state Capitol have been hesitant to approve the website. They say it would be an endorsement of the Affordable Care Act.

Doctor Fadwa Gillanders is a chronic disease management specialist. She opposes national health care. She told lawmakers about a patient with several chronic conditions who called her - in her words - begging for help.

"I get beggars every day," she says. "We're turning into a nation of beggars, pawners. Can you give me? Can you give me?' Because we don't know how to take care of ourselves, and we're hoping insurance will make it better, but it actually makes it worse."

Those who support national health care say health care is too expensive and too few people receive adequate care. The Republican chair of the House panel says she has no timeline to approve or reject the creation of the health exchange website.