President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. With the federal health law in question, some Ohio lawmakers and advocates are wondering how a repeal could impact the state’s growing health care industry.
The Affordable Care Act has led to a boom in Ohio’s health care industry, says Amy Rohling McGee, director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan, Health Policy Institute of Ohio.
“You can look at where job growth has been in the state and certainly the sectors that employ a lot of people that have grown are health care-related in our state, so hospitals and nursing homes other health care facilities, that's where a lot of the job growth has been over the last several years,” McGee says.
Much of that economic growth has to do with Medicaid. Ohio was among the more than three dozen states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
And Ohio’s uninsured rate has dropped from 12 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2015. Nearly a million Ohioans currently have insurance coverage related to the Affordable Care Act.
Gov. John Kasich has said that if the Affordable Care Act is repealed by the Trump administration, Ohio will need a replacement plan in place so people don't immediately lose coverage.
In a recent conference call with reporters, Ohio Senator Rob Portman said it could take two to three years to fully transition to a new health system.
“And during that time period people who are under the exchanges or are covered under expanded Medicaid will have the opportunity to continue to do so,” said the senator.
Portman said he’d also like to see any Trump administration changes to the Affordable Care Act include relief for the state’s small businesses.
“So, I think there’s an opportunity with this reform and replacement effort to make the health care part of our economy more productive and to actually improve the economy by dealing with the health care costs.”
Portman said the U.S. senate is expected to vote later this month on a budget resolution that could begin to outline the future of health insurance for millions of Americans.