We Are People, Not Pawns

Would you raise taxes by $4,700 on working families to make a political point? What if the tax raise stopped families all across the state from affording healthcare?

The very idea of sacrificing the health of families to make an ideological point should be met with disbelief and nausea, but I’m guessing few of you are surprised to hear the Attorney General of Michigan is actually using this tactic in an effort to undermine Obamacare.

Attorney General Bill Schuette led the fight to keep Michigan from building its own healthcare exchange, “deferring instead to the federal government.”

Though Schuette made it so Michigan families had to use the federal healthcare exchange, he is now arguing that the fact that they are using the federal exchange, instead of a state one, means Michiganders don’t qualify for the healthcare tax credit.

Nearly half a million Michigan citizens qualify for the credit, which averages $4,700/per person.  To put that in perspective, $4,700 is roughly equal to 2-month’s take home pay for the average Michigan family.

tax credit

You’re probably asking: Why? Why would Schuette want to raise taxes by that much on Michigan families?

The answer: Political points.

Schuette is a Tea Party Republican, and he believes that doing anything to show he’s fighting Obamacare is good politics. By removing this tax credit people count on, Schuette gets to say he’s fighting to hurt Obama, thereby appeasing his base. If families lose the tax credit, they will be much worse off and less likely to support Obamacare.

If his ultimate goal is to defeat Obama and pander to the Tea Party, then what he’s doing makes sense, but that’s not what he was elected to do. Schuette was elected to defend Michigan’s families.

When you hold a government office you are being called to serve. This example in Michigan showcases just how broken our political system has become: leaders would rather push people around like expendable pawns for their ideological vision than attempt to tackle real-world problems.

It’s not right and it’s not okay to use Michigan’s 492,542 people (plus dependents) as fodder in an ideological war against healthcare.

It’s disheartening and frustrating to watch Schuette continue to sacrifice the health and well being of working families for his own political gain. When Attorney General Bill Schuette is up for election on November 4th, 2014, don’t forget this disgraceful behavior. But let’s not lose sight of the larger issue either—political warfare where people are only as good as the voter tallies that represent them is disturbing and we must not allow it.


Lindsey Bergholz is an intern for Eleison Group, a consulting firm that seeks “to align what is right with what works politically and economically.” She is a graduate of the University of Miami, a law student at George Washington, and a bookworm who occasionally takes a break from geeking-out to volunteer with animals.

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