Rob Portman is one of 13 Senators working on the (for some reason) top-secret, Republicans-only, Senate version of the American Health Care Act. And recently, he’s floated a new proposal that might get 50 Senators on board, but it’s bad news for Ohio and for America: Rob Portman’s contention that a gradual phase out of Medicaid expansion funds would allow the states to take over the costs is a buck-passing pipe dream!
Rob Portman’s Plan…
During the health care debate in Congress, Rob Portman has been credited for acknowledging that Ohioans have benefited from the Medicaid expansion, and saying on the record that he wants to ensure that these people continue to have Medicaid coverage, or some kind of “help.”
Unfortunately the new plan he has come up with to help Republicans move their bill through Congress is short (term) sighted. While it would preserve the Medicaid expansion, for now, it would start phasing it out in 2020, with complete repeal of this additional funding by 2027.
Starting to deconstruct Medicaid after the next Presidential election is a cynical move, even by Republican standards. And even though Portman’s plan would allow four extra years from the phase out over the proposal by GOP leadership, the outcome in either case is the same: 14 million Americans losing health care coverage.
Worse, this plan might be the same type of trick that would allow the bill to pass the Senate: one tweak, that is only marginally less cruel than the original to placate moderates, and the rest of the terrible bill preserved. As The Hill explains:
Portman’s and Capito’s willingness to end the program is significant, in that it suggests centrists will not demand that the Medicaid expansion be permanent, and that Republicans may be able to find common ground on the critical issue if the additional federal funds are phased down more slowly.
…Will Hurt Ohioans
In Ohio, 682,900 adults have benefited from the Medicaid expansion. In addition, 72% of the federal funds Ohio receives go to Medicaid. If the GOP American Health Care Bill passes, with Portman’s proposal, some of this funding will be replaced with the “block grant,” but a significant percentage will simply stop.
The idea is that the care would continue to be provided with state funds, but since money does not grow on trees, and Ohio must have a balanced budget by law, the chances are high that the state would be unable to absorb the extra cost and would instead raise eligibility requirements, reduce services, and otherwise weaken the Ohio Medicaid program to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.
Tell Rob Portman what you think: urge him to protect Ohioans now and in the future–not just until the next major election.