WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Tim Ryan on Thursday blasted the Senate’s draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Brown cited its elimination of the Medicaid expansion and additional cuts to Medicaid – saying it’s one of the most important funding supports for the treatment of opioid addiction in Ohio.
“This bill takes away the number one tool we have in the fight against opioids – Medicaid treatment,” Brown said. “We cannot allow Washington to rip the rug out from under Ohio communities. Instead of raising prices on people over 50 and working families, we should be working together to lower costs, fight the opioid epidemic and make healthcare work better for everyone.”
Ryan called the bill “ruinous,” also upset with its Medicaid ramifications.
“This bill will have devastating consequences for hard working families, the elderly and the sick,” Ryan said. “It is an absolute betrayal of everything we stand for as Americans.”
Ryan released his thoughts in a lengthy statement:
Senate Republicans’ message to the American people? Tax cuts for the wealthiest among us take precedent over your affordable care. They took a House bill that that didn’t reduce the cost of premiums, that didn’t expand health coverage for all, that didn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions and that nobody liked, and nobody wanted, and doubled down on it. Just this week, Montgomery County, Ohio became the drug overdose capital of America. With drug overdoses becoming the leading cause of death around the country, Republicans are touting a bill that will slash Medicaid, decrease access to substance abuse treatment and make the opioid crisis worse. Senate Republicans should be ashamed — not only for the destruction this legislation would unleash, but for the cravenly secretive and undemocratic way they went about writing it.”
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 $2 billion to address the opioid crisis in the entire country.
Last year, Ohio alone spent nearly $1 billion on the opioid epidemic. Medicaid covered 70 percent of the $939 million the state invested in the opioid epidemic last year. Experts said a $45 billion investment won’t work, and the Senate bill is less than five percent of what the House bill calls for.
The bill would not only take away coverage for addiction treatment, but it also does nothing to lower costs for Ohioans struggling to afford their premiums or prescription drug costs.