Kalamazoo Gazette: Democrat doctor challenges Fred Upton in 2018 after health care vote

Kalamazoo Gazette: Democrat doctor challenges Fred Upton in 2018 after health care vote

KALAMAZOO, MI — Dr. Matt Longjohn wants to hold U.S. Rep. Fred Upton “accountable” for his support of the American Health Care Act.

The Portage physician and former National Health Officer for the YMCA announced July 18 he will be running as a Democrat to take Upton’s seat in the 6th Congressional District. Longjohn, 46, said he decided to run after Upton negotiated an amendment in exchange for his support of the House Republican-backed bill.

“Ultimately it was Congressman Upton’s deal that sold our pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits down the river,” Longjohn said. “At that point it felt like a duty for me to get in. As someone who knows about healthcare, he had to be held responsible for what he was doing to Southwest Michigan families.”

Upton’s supported the bill after House leadership agreed to his amendment to make $8 billion available to assist those with pre-existing conditions. The decision sparked demonstrations outside his Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Offices.

Longjohn said the protections won’t be enough, and Upton’s support exchanges an admittedly flawed health care system which raises cost and reduces the quality of care. Pundits have speculated that the health care concerns can swing control of Congress to the Democrats, and Longjohn said he hopes to be a part of increased political engagement surrounding the issue.

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