Bernie Sanders to speak at health care rally in Columbus

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference outside his campaign headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Senator Bernie Sanders will be in Columbus Sunday morning at a rally aimed at protecting the Affordable Care Act.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans released a 142-page draft of their health care replacement. The bill, as written, would eliminate much of former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.

The measure would make cuts to and revamp Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income and disabled people. It would repeal tax increases Obama’s law imposed on higher-income people and medical industry companies to pay for expanded coverage. And it would end the tax penalty Obama’s statute imposes on people who don’t buy insurance – in effect, ending the so-called individual mandate.

Sanders hopes to put pressure on Senator Rob Portman and other Republicans to vote against a repeal of the ACA.

Senator Portman released a statement Thursday afternoon after the release of the Senate draft of health care legislation.

“As I’ve said previously, the Affordable Care Act is not working for many Ohio families and small businesses. My goal is to create a more workable system that lowers the cost of coverage, provides access to quality care, and protects the most vulnerable in our society. There are some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.

“I look forward to examining this new proposal carefully and reviewing the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office when it is available. If the final legislation is good for Ohio, I will support it. If not, I will oppose it. As this process moves forward, I will continue to work to protect Ohio’s interests and ensure that our health care system works better for all Ohioans.

Sanders will be speaking at Express LIVE! in the Arena District. Doors open to the public at 10am and the rally begins at 11:30am.

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