U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today blasted the Senate's revised healthcare bill, which like the earlier bill, will gut the Medicaid coverage supported by Governor Kasich, which has been Ohio's number one tool in combatting the opioid crisis. The bill also allows insurance companies to once again to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions and applies a double age tax on people ages 50-64 by allowing insurers to charge them up to five times more and reducing the tax credits currently available for them to buy insurance.
"Just yesterday, I met with Ohio families whose children were born with diseases or disabilities that require special healthcare needs for the rest of their lives. Last week in Cincinnati, I sat across from a man who told me that without the Medicaid expansion, his daughter would have died from an opioid overdose. In Toledo, I talked to hard-working people over 50 who can't afford an age tax that allows insurers to charge them five times more," said Brown. "How can a bunch of Washington politicians with taxpayer-funded healthcare look these people in the eye and tell them "we're going to let insurance companies refuse to cover your child's care'? How can they say "we're gutting the best tool we have to combat the opioid crisis'? How can they raise costs on hard-working people just because they turn 50?"
"I'm ready to work with Republicans to lower costs and make healthcare work better, but that's not what this bill does."
According to a Harvard study more than 220,000 Ohioans with addiction or mental health disorders now have coverage under the Affordable Care Act -- 151,257 through the Medicaid expansion and 69,225 under private insurance purchased through the marketplace. Repeal would kick those people off of their insurance, potentially disrupting treatment services for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans as they are fighting for their lives.
The bill would end the Medicaid expansion, which allows thousands of Ohioans to get treatment, and replace it with just $45 billion to address the opioid crisis in the entire country for 10 years. Last year, Ohio alone spent nearly $1 billion on the opioid epidemic. Experts said a $45 billion investment won't work.
Double Age Tax
Ohioans between the ages of 50 and 65 who do not have coverage through an employer would face even higher healthcare costs and be charged up to five times as much for coverage. At the same time, the bill reduces the tax credits those people currently have to help them buy insurance.
Letting Insurance Companies Refuse to Cover Ohioans
The bill could allow insurance companies to once again to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions, pricing them out of necessary care. And all Ohioans could lose access to essential health benefits currently mandated under the Affordable Care Act, such as mental health services and maternity coverage.
Hurting Ohio Kids
The bill cuts approximately $800 billion from the Medicaid, which covers nearly one million Ohio children, accounting for more than half of Ohio's entire Medicaid population.
Nearly half of all children with special health care needs in Ohio rely entirely or in part on Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would leave these children without other options for health insurance.