Issues > Ohio Legislature: Health Care

ACA still under attack by GOP; TrumpRyanMcConnellCare 4.0 will affect Ohioans

Governor John Kasich has been lobbying the Senate - including Ohio Senator Rob Portman - to NOT repeal the ACA. So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not had luck repealing/replacing/delaying legislation regarding the ACA. News is changing rapidly on what is the latest that McConnell is attempting when it comes to dismantling health care for Americans.

As of today, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, he is now on a mission to repeal the ACA with NO replacement - a FULL OUTRIGHT REPEAL. However, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) confirmed they would not vote for a repeal bill that delayed enacting the policy by two years. Ironically, women Senators were all cut out of the Senate’s initial working group to draft the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill — a group of 13 Caucasian men. Senator McConnell is still planning to take a vote.

So where is Ohio's Senator Rob Portman on this issue? He has been very tight-lipped. It is time to call Senator Portman - EVERY DAY TWICE A DAY - to ask him to vote NO on Trumpcare 4.0:

  • Washington DC - 202.224.3353
  • Toledo - 419.259.3895
  • Toll Free in Ohio - 800.205.OHIO

What happens if the ACA is repealed?

  • 700,000+ Ohioans will loose health care coverage
  • Ohio's Medicaid Expansion will be phased out
  • Some 18 million Americans would lose health insurance coverage
  • Some 14 million Americans would lose Medicaid coverage
  • Premiums would rise by 20 to 25 percent within the first year after repeal, according to projections outlined by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in January and based on a previous bill to repeal key provisions of Obamacare
  • A $137 billion increase in the federal deficit from 2016 to 2025


3 Republican governors sign on to letter rejecting 'Trumpcare'
Bob Bryan | Business Insider

6.16.17 - Three Republican governors — John Kasich of Ohio, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts — signed onto a letter sent to congressional leaders Friday rejecting the current iteration of the GOP healthcare bill.

In the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, three Republican governors and four Democratic governors called for bipartisan efforts to reform the healthcare system.

"While we certainly agree that reforms need to be made to our nation’s health care system, as Governors from both sides of the political aisle, we feel that true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion," the letter said.

The governors also admonished the House GOP version of the American Health Care Act for creating more problems in the healthcare system than it solves.

"It calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states," said the letter. "Medicaid provisions included in this bill are particularly problematic. Instead, we recommend Congress address factors we can all agree need fixing."

All three states took advantage of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, which the House bill would phase out.

Here's the full letter and signees:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

We have watched with great interest the recent debate and House passage of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act. While we certainly agree that reforms need to be made to our nation’s health care system, as Governors from both sides of the political aisle, we feel that true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion.

To that end, we remain hopeful that there is an opportunity to craft solutions to these challenges that can find support across party lines, delivering improvements to result in a system that is available and affordable for every American.

We believe that, first and foremost, Congress should focus on improving our nation’s private health insurance system. Improvements should be based on a set of guiding principles, included below, which include controlling costs and stabilizing the market, that will positively impact the coverage and care of millions of Americans, including many who are dealing with mental illness, chronic health problems, and drug addiction.

Unfortunately, H.R. 1628, as passed by the House, does not meet these challenges. It calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states. Medicaid provisions included in this bill are particularly problematic. Instead, we recommend Congress address factors we can all agree need fixing.

We stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to develop a proposal that is fiscally sound and provides quality, affordable coverage for our most vulnerable citizens.


John R. Kasich, Governor of Ohio; Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana; Brian Sandoval, Governor of Nevada; John W. Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado; Charles D. Baker, Governor of Massachusetts; Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania; John Bel Edwards, Governor of Louisiana

John Kasich pans new Republican healthcare bill 
By Andrew J. Tobias | 

5.08.17 - Kasich not impressed: Ohio Gov. John Kasich during a Sunday appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" panned the healthcare bill Republican House members passed on Friday.

Kasich told host Jake Tapper the bill too abruptly cuts the 90 percent reimbursement the federal government promised to states under the Affordable Care Act to help pay for Medicaid expansion, which provided healthcare to 700,000 Ohioans.

"You are going to have a lot of people... where are they going to go? That's a real problem," Kasich said. "And that doesn't mean the system doesn't need to be reformed. It can be. But this was -- this was not great. And it is going to go to the Senate. And I hope and pray they are going to write a much bigger bill."

I'm not here to talk about that: Tapper tried to get Kasich to project whether the healthcare bill would be a drag on Republican congressional candidates in 2020.

REPORT: Medicaid expansion benefits health, finances
The Associated Press 

12.31.16 - COLMBUS - Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration has found the state’s 2014 Medicaid expansion resulted in health and financial benefits to many poor Ohioans.

The findings were contained in a report created at the request of the General Assembly and released Friday, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Among 702,000 who gained coverage as of May 2016, it showed:

— 75 percent had been previously uninsured

— 27 percent were diagnosed with at least one chronic condition after obtaining coverage

— About a third screened positive for depression and anxiety disorders

— 32 percent were diagnosed with substance abuse or dependence

New enrollees typically were unmarried white men with a high-school diploma or less. Forty-three percent were employed.

The analysis was based on a telephone survey of more than 7,500 Medicaid beneficiaries and a review of medical records.

“This report clearly illustrates the benefits of extending Medicaid coverage to more low-income Ohioans, including helping to identify and control expensive chronic health conditions, while also making it easier for them to find and keep a job,” state Medicaid director Barbara Sears told the newspaper.

Ohio was one of 31 states to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, which President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have said they want to repeal. The expansion allowed coverage for those making up to 138 percent of poverty, or $16,243 a year for an individual. Previous eligibility was limited to poor children, parents and the disabled.

Under current law, the federal government picks up the full cost of newly eligible beneficiaries this year, 95 percent in 2017 and 90 percent in 2020.

Expansion pushed Ohio’s Medicaid rolls to more than 3 million people, for a total cost of $25.3 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the paper reported. That was up from 2.4 million people and $20 billion the previous year.

Kasich is expected to maintain Medicaid expansion in the two-year budget he proposes early in 2017. The study found it improved access to physical and mental health care, improved overall health and reduced costly emergency room visits.

According to the report, the expansion has pushed the share of uninsured people among poor working-age adults down to 14 percent, the lowest ever reported.

Kasich Ducking Responsibility For Medicaid Insurance Changes That He Signed Into Law
Hundreds of Thousands of Ohioans Will Lose Coverage
Under Kasich’s Budget

[Read the full text of the proposal here]

4.27.16 - COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich continues to campaign around the country claiming to be a “moderate” and “compassionate” Republican, at the same time that his administration moves to implement a plan that will kick hundreds of thousands of Ohioans off of their current health coverage.

“George Orwell would admire the chutzpah of naming a plan that will result in hundreds of thousands of Ohioans losing their insurance coverage the ‘Healthy Ohio’ plan,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “The ‘Healthy Ohio’ plan and health coverage snatched away from vulnerable women, children and their families will be Governor Kasich’s legacy. Even though Governor Kasich is ducking responsibility for ‘Healthy Ohio,’ the buck stops with him. He signed the budget into law that authorizes ‘Healthy Ohio.’ He owns it.”

The Kasich administration estimates from 126,000 to 140,000 will lose Medicaid coverage every year of the “Healthy Ohio” plan. A spokesman for the administration told the Toledo Blade, “This is not our proposal. We are required by law to do this.” However, the proposal was part of House Bill 64, the state budget bill that Kasich signed into law on June 30, 2015.

The Center for Community Solutions had called on Kasich to use his line-item veto on ‘Healthy Ohio,’ but Kasich chose not to do so.

In their testimony on the “Healthy Ohio” plan, the center said, “Healthy Ohio as constructed would likely result in the broad disenrollment of currently covered beneficiaries through a set of complicated, punitive and errantly applied cost-sharing policies focused on a population largely unable to meet the financial and logistical requirements of the proposal, including vulnerable populations such as foster children and women with cancer.”

“Healthy Ohio” still awaits federal approval as a Medicaid waiver proposal.

Medicaid expansion affects about 12,000 in Sandusky area
Tom Jackson | Sandusky Register

4.20.16 - The expansion of Medicaid in Ohio provided access to health care for almost 12,000 people in four counties in the Sandusky area, according to figures released by the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

Erie County added the most additional Medicaid users, 4,522. But substantial numbers of new enrollees also were recorded by Huron County (3,037), Sandusky County (2,730) and Ottawa County (1,635).

One of the major components of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obama Care," was to expand health care coverage by expanding the number of people enrolled in Medicaid. The ACA including funding to encourage states to expand their Medicaid rolls, and coverage was to be offered to people who didn't quality before, including low-income people without children.

Medicaid expansion is optional, and not all states have agreed to carry it out.

According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 32 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the expansion of Medicaid, but 19 states have not accepted it, at least so far.

Ohio is one of the states that accepted Medicaid expansion. Gov. John Kasich favored Medicaid expansion and pushed it through, against the opposition of many members of his own party.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion argue that it helps hospitals by providing payments for people who otherwise would not have coverage, reducing the need for uncompensated charity care.

Last October, Firelands Regional Medical Center reported that as an apparent result of the Affordable Care Act, the hospital's charity care and bad debt had gone from $7.7 million in 2012 to $3.5 million in 2015, while the number of uninsured patient accounts fell during the same period from about 15,000 to about 10,000.

Medicaid expansion accounted for much of that, with the new health insurance exchanges set up by the ACA playing a smaller role, Martin Tursky, president and CEO of Firelands, told the Register.

Medicaid expansion proponents also argue expansion improved the health of many patients who had no coverage before, and who had to deal with health care issues by showing up in hospital emergency rooms when a health problem presented itself.

Dr. James Misak, a Cleveland family medicine doctor, told reporters Wednesday on a telephone conference call hosted by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, that the MetroHealth hospital system received permission in 2013 to carry out an early expansion of Medicaid in Cuyahoga County. (Ohio's Medicaid expansion did not take effect until the beginning of 2014.)

Misak said the Cuyahoga County initiative extended coverage to more than 28,000 Cuyahoga County residents. Independent research showed that the local expansion improved control of diabetes and high blood pressure among the patients, resulting in them using the emergency room less, he said.

Medicaid enrollment in Ohio (as of February 2016)

           Location                Added by expansion     Total enrolled

Erie County                        4,522                             18,421

Huron County                      3,037                              15,030

Sandusky County                2,730                              13,755

Ottawa County                    1,635                                7,104

        State of Ohio                      661,000                           2,944,055