Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week will call on state lawmakers to pass legislation aggressively protecting key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including free preventive services, as the state’s health law continues to face legal challenges in federal court.

Whitmer, who is in her second term and is working with an entirely Democratic-controlled Legislature for the first time, will call for a plan to codify the Affordable Care Act in a speech Wednesday that she will outline for the second half of the year. year of legislative priorities.

It is one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, requiring insurers to cover preventive services Facing threats in federal court.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Whitmer said enshrining the Affordable Care Act in state law would ensure Michigan residents “are not at risk of losing their coverage due to future threats.”

The governor’s office said the plan must include measures that prohibit insurers from denying or limiting coverage based on pre-existing conditions and would go further to protect a range of free preventive services. Whitmer also wants legislation requiring all insurers to cover a range of “essential” services, such as ambulance service, birth control, maternity care and mental health.

The country’s health law is often referred to as “Obamacare” Facing Numerous Legal Challenges Throughout its 13-year history, including Several have entered the U.S. Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, a federal judge in Texas struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required most insurers to cover preventive services including cancer, diabetes and mental health screenings. It’s one of the law’s most popular features, with the US Department of Health and Human Services estimating that 150 million individuals in private health plans have benefited from free preventive services.

Although the court agreement stay of judge’s decision As the appeal proceeds, Whitmer in April directed state departments and state legislatures to take action to ensure residents are not stripped of protections if federal law changes.

“These are life-saving measures protected by the Affordable Care Act. So as long as Democrats have these majorities, it’s important that we can permanently protect these services,” said Dr. Rob Davidson, executive director of the Council to Protect Healthcare.

A version of Whitmer’s proposal passed the state House in June but never made it to the Senate. These include banning annual or lifetime benefit limits and protecting a provision requiring insurers to allow young people to stay on parental plans until they turn 26.

A number of states added similar protections a few years ago when the ACA faced federal lawsuits challenging the law’s constitutionality. But self-funded plans set up by private employers are exempt from most state insurance laws, hampering the impact of any state measures, said Krutika Amin, the nonprofit’s deputy director. Kaiser Family Foundation ACA’s program.

“A state-based approach allows some people in the state to continue to receive valuable services, such as zero-cost preventive services, but it doesn’t work for the majority of people with private insurance,” Amin said.

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