Southwest Michigan Native Challenges Rep. Fred Upton, Architect of Republican House Bill that Raises Health Care Premiums

Portage, MI – Today, Dr. Matt Longjohn, a public health leader and the former National Health Officer for the YMCA, announced his campaign to represent Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District. He is running to challenge Congressman Fred Upton, who played a pivotal role in passing the House Republican health care bill that raises premiums for Michigan families.

“When I saw Congressman Upton tip the balance in the House to pass the disastrous Republican health care bill, I felt it was my duty to get into this race. As a doctor and someone with knowledge of how to improve our health care system, I know we can do better.” said Longjohn. “I am running to bring much-needed change to Washington and to be a leader who stands up for the hard-working families of Southwestern Michigan.”

Matt has spent his entire career creating and running large community health programs that have improved the lives of millions of children, families and seniors. Most recently, Matt served as the National Health Officer for the YMCA, one of the nation’s oldest and largest charities. He was the first physician leader in the Y’s 170-year history, and ran community health programs to improve health, reduce costs and create jobs. One of these programs reduced new cases of diabetes by up to 71%, and will save Medicare $1.9 billion over 10 years by employing thousands of community health workers to help their neighbors live their healthier lives. He and his team supported local community work in Augusta, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, and 250 other cities across the nation, positively impacting 73 million people.

Under Fred Upton’s health care plan, middle class families and older adults would pay more for less care, millions of patients with pre-existing conditions would lose coverage and long-term care for seniors would be gutted. Just in Congressman Upton’s district alone, 38,600 will lose their health insurance and premiums statewide will increase $569. The bill would also gut funding for Medicaid and shut down rural hospitals, putting jobs on the chopping block and making it more difficult to treat those suffering from opioid addiction.

“Congressman Upton has been in Washington for too long and has become out of touch with Southwest Michigan, caving to lobbyists, special interests and Donald Trump on critical issues like health care,” said Longjohn. “I’ll never be afraid to stand up to President Trump or any Washington politician to do what’s right for Southwest Michigan families.”

Congressman Upton has spent over 30 years in Washington and collected more than $13 million in campaign cash from special interests, including $3 million from the health care industry. Upton has voted to raise his own pay numerous times while casting votes against working families in favor of unfair trade deals like NAFTA.

Longjohn will run a progressive, grassroots campaign to unseat Upton next November.

“I’m running for Congress to improve the health and quality of life for everyone living in Southwest Michigan,” Longjohn said. “In Congress, I’ll fight for affordable health care, clean air and water, strong schools, fair trade deals and good-paying jobs.

Longjohn lives in Portage, near where he was born and raised, with his wife Valerie and two sons, Till and Max. His family’s roots in the district go back to the Civil War and he is a proud graduate of Portage Northern and Kalamazoo College.

For more information, visit his website


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