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Senate Health Bill: Dayton Disabilities Advocates Raise Alarms Over Medicaid Cuts

affordable care act health care protest mike turner american health care act trumpcare trump insurance medical insurer coverage medicaid expansion
WYSO/Jess Mador

Ohioans are reacting to the long-awaited Republican Affordable Care Act repeal bill released Thursday. Many Miami Valley lawmakers and health advocates have expressed concern over the proposal’s potential impact on addiction, mental health and disability services.

Among the changes outlined in the bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, are provisions to end Affordable Care Act mandates requiring most Americans to have health insurance. It would offer tax credits to help offset the cost of coverage, and eliminate most ACA taxes on corporations and higher-income Americans, according to an analysis by NPR News

One of the most controversial aspects of the senate bill is its treatment of Medicaid. The legislation would phase out federal funding for Medicaid expansion -- currently covering about 11 million people in 31 states -- beginning in 2020, and shift more of those costs back to states.  

Assistant Director of the Dayton Access Center for Independent Living, Greg Kramer, says cutting Medicaid would hurt many low-income people with disabilities who rely on the program for health care and services.

“Medicaid is a resource for their medical care,” Kramer says. “What would happen to them if they don’t have that access go into a nursing home because that is their only way of getting care? Well, who is even going to pay for that?”

Both Ohio senators have released statements on the Senate health-care proposal.

Republican Senator Rob Portman says he looks forward to reviewing the Congressional Budget Office’s fiscal analysis of the GOP proposal.

ACA Affordable Care Act Statement by Republican U.S. Sen. Portman better repeal replace obamacare on the Senate health care proposal
Credit https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=ACD4617E-0273-4B4F-9C59-C4A63584ECCB
Statement by Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman on the Senate health care proposal.

And in a separate statement, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says the GOP Senate bill would hamper the state’s progress in slowing the opioid epidemic, calling Medicaid the “number one tool” in the fight against opioids.

Read more about the legislation at NPR News.