By Arielle Hines
Since its passage nearly five years ago, the Affordable Care Act has been one of the most divisive issues in American politics.
The law, commonly known as Obamacare, has been marked with controversy at every turn, including dozens of repeal efforts in the House, numerous legal challenges, broken promises, and a website problem that prevented people from signing up for insurance through state or federal exchanges.
Since then, the law has worked more or less as it was expected to, and perhaps even a bit better than even the law’s most ardent supporters had hoped. While millions of Americans will remain uninsured under the law, the unemployment rate has dipped by nearly five percent since last year thanks in part to the law. And the average benchmark health care plan under the law has seen its cost modestly drop since the law’s implementation, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
The law, despite its recent successes, remains unpopular, and calls for the law’s repeal from the right have continued. Find out where your candidates in two key races stand below:
Gov. Rick Snyder, Republican:
In 2013, Snyder signed a large Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. The law expanded availability of health care to nearly 500,000 low-income people. Snyder was one of only a handful of Republican governors to sign a Medicaid expansion bill after the Supreme Court ruled states can decide to opt out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion provision if they choose to do so.
“This is about the health of fellow Michiganders,” Snyder said at the signing. “The right answer is not to talk about politics, but to talk about our family of 10 million people.”
The law passed the Legislature with broad Democratic support but with deep divisions among Republicans.
Mark Schauer, Democratic candidate for governor:
As a U.S. congressman, Schauer voted yes on the Affordable Care Act. According to analysis done by On The Issues, a non-profit that provides voting information, Schauer has signaled he favors expanding the health care law in the future.
He told the liberal Eclectablog in October that Republican criticism of the law is rooted in politics and ideology, not policy.
“We see it in the legislature in how they tried to stop Medicaid expansion, how they blocked immediate effect of Medicaid expansion, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars and making people wait an additional three months to get quality health care,” he said. “These are the same folks who have been holding the nation hostage, trying to block health care, shutting down government.”
U.S. Senate race
U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Peters “proudly” voted yes on the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. House in 2010.
Peters said on his campaign website that he is frustrated with the rocky rollout of Obamacare and would work with Democrats and Republicans to find ways to fix the law. Peters supports a plan that would make good on President Barack Obama’s broken promise that anyone who liked their old, pre-Obamacare plans would be able to keep them.
Terri Lynn Land, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate
Land has repeatedly said that she would work to repeal Obamacare as a senator, but she has not offered an alternative to it.
She also supported the 2012 GOP Platform, which called for the repeal of Obamacare. The platform also called for the state to limit federal requirements on private insurance and Medicare and called for individuals to take personal responsibility for their health care.