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Letter: Upton has lost his way after 31 years (Herald Palladium)

Upton has lost his way after 31 years


In 2014, a young couple gave me a bracelet that was part of a fundraiser to help their baby Dominick with his fight against brain cancer. They gave it to me as a thank you for my vote for health care and as a reminder of what the debate is really about. Because of my vote, this now 5-year-old’s parents don’t have to worry about losing coverage for their family if they switch jobs, and their son will be able to get insurance when he grows up.

My vote came at a high political price. In 2009, fear tactics pushed by the opponents of health care reform led to protests outside of my district office, and D.C. experts predicted that voting against big insurance companies and for protecting people with pre-existing conditions would cost me my seat in Congress. I still voted yes. For me, doing the right thing wasn’t even a choice.

Sadly, my colleague, Congressman Fred Upton, made different choices. I’ve known Fred Upton for 30 years. Fred is a nice person, and I always looked for ways to work across the aisle with him. But he’s changed.

The most disturbing change was Upton’s extraordinary role last year to repeal health care, particularly undoing protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Citizens from across the country, from both sides of the aisle, opposed the House bill that would allowed insurance companies to deny coverage for people who’ve been sick.

Congressman Upton sees things differently than I did when I was in Congress. Upton failed his leadership test on health care and took actions to strip Americans of access to care. Unfortunately, over his 31 years in Washington Fred Upton seems to have lost his sense of home and forgot the “Dominicks” he was elected to serve.

Mark Schauer

Former Member of Congress