DAYTON, OH (WDTN) – With the fate of country’s healthcare regime still uncertain, Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman both named Medicaid as a key concern for them and their constituents.
Brown and Portman spoke to the media after a tour of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, just before the House of Representatives made the decision to pull the American Health Care Act from the floor.
The bill was designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare.
“We do have people here in Ohio who are on expanded Medicaid who are going to see a very different program if the house bill passes,” Portman said.
“Because although it stays the same until 2020, after that time it goes to the state and there’s no longer the federal help for this expanded population. It’s about seven hundred thousand people in Ohio.”
Portman also took note of the number of people in Ohio who are on Medicaid but are also addicted to opioids.
Brown said the Medicaid issue is one he and Portman can agree on – specifically what could happen to the program under the new bill.
“There are hundreds of thousands of Ohioans that have Medicaid coverage now that didn’t have it before the affordable care act and before the governor made the expansion,” Brown said.
Brown charged that it’s “immoral” for the government to “take away” American’s insurance.
“Literally hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio. Millions across the country many of whom are working. These are people, people who will lose their insurance are making eight and ten and twelve dollars an hour; they are working full time; they just don’t have insurance,” Brown said.
“Politicians are taking their insurance away. Whatever the presidents says, whatever his ultimatum, there’s no ethical reason.”
Brown was referring to a push from President Trump for the House to go to a vote.
Both he and Portman, however, acknowledged the current Affordable Care Act could use some upgrades.
Portman took note of the rise in insurance premiums.
“The status quo is not acceptable,” Portman said. “We do have skyrocketing premiums here in Ohio. And even if Hilary Clinton has been elected president and the democrats had taken control of the senate, we’d have to be talking about how to deal with a system that has some serious problems.”
More than 10 million people are currently insured under the Affordable Care Act, according to official figures. Hundreds of thousands of them are right here in Ohio.