With the narrow passage of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives, the bill (or a health care bill) will be considered by the Senate next.
Rob Portman is one of the Senators that people are watching. Not only is he one of the 13 men (12 white guys and Ted Cruz) Mitch McConnell has assigned to work on the Senate version of the bill, but he has spoken out against the current version of the bill. Plus, Portman is a compassionate conservative, so we should all have faith that he will move this bill towards the center.
This post explains three important health care issues to talk to Rob Portman about.
Key Health Care Issues to talk to Rob Portman About….
1. Cuts to Medicaid
It’s unclear how much the newest version of the AHCA will cut Medicaid, but it is at least the $880 billion that was cut in the first bill. As has been widely reported, the bulk of these cuts go to tax breaks for the rich.
Rob Portman has expressed concerns about this provision of the first version of the bill. The Medicaid expansion should be protected as is — no cuts, and no conversion to state block grants.
2. Pre-Existing Conditions
Rob Portman has not spoken specifically about the issue of rolling back protections for those with pre-existing conditions. But, this is a very real issue for millions of Americans should this bill become law.
Republicans note that only people without continuous coverage, and living in a state that requests a waiver from the provisions of the ACA that mandate insurers treat all people the same instead of discriminating against those with pre-exisiting conditions. But consider this: because the bill also rolls back the protections that mandate companies provide coverage, workplaces could terminate healthcare benefits for employees, suddenly leaving people who had employer coverage without coverage. At this point, the pre-existing condition penalties could come into effect. And while some republicans say that states would not actually request these waivers, the republican governor of Wisconsin has already said that he would do so.
3. Effects on Employer Plans
Rob Portman has not mentioned what he thinks about the negative effects the AHCA could have on employer-sponsored plans. This issue has not gotten as much press as the first two, but it may affect even more people.
The AHCA allows insurers in states with waivers to opt out of the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) provided by the ACA — things like covering preventative treatments, emergency room visits, pregnancy, and a host of other vital services that should be part of a health insurance plan.
But what is worse is that is even one state gets a waiver, it could affect private insurance plans in other states. This example from Business Insider explains how it works:
A company could have operations in South Carolina and Vermont. If South Carolina is granted a waiver and drops the lifetime limit on maternity care for insurance plans, the company could use that baseline to put a lifetime cap on maternity care for employees in Vermont as well.
How to get in touch with Rob Portman
Because Rob Portman has express discontent with the current version of the bill and is a known moderate, he is one of the key Senators involved in Senate health care policy. Talk to him about this important issue–give him the feedback he needs to represent us well, and encourage him to resist pressure to cave in to political demands to pass a law–any law–that could be seen as a “repeal and replace” law, because no one voted for worse health care, and that’s what the AHCA is.
Sen. Portman has an office in Toledo, and every Tuesday at noon, constituents visit his staffers there. This is a good way to convey your opinions about these important healthcare topics.
Schedule a meeting with Rob Portman here (not sure if that will be more effective than scheduling a meeting with Bob Latta…)
Call or mail
Washington, D.C. Office
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
420 Madison Avenue
Toledo, OH 43604
Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446 (OHIO)