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Sen. Rob Portman opposed the previous Senate GOP plan to replace Obamacare because it cut Medicaid increases too much.
A revamped Republican plan rolled out Thursday adds $45 billion for opioid and mental-health treatment, but it doesn't change the Medicaid reductions.
So is there any way Portman could back the new bill?
"We'll see," he told reporters.
In a statement, he elaborated: "I’ll review the text of this new legislation just like I did the last version, and I will review the analysis from the Congressional Budget Office when it becomes available."
In a Senate where the GOP leadership already has lost votes from the maximum two Republicans in the struggle to pass the promised Obamacare replacement, Portman is a critical vote. Complicating the mix was an 11th-hour announcement Thursday from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana that they would develop their own plan in an attempt to attract more moderates.
Portman and other senators from states that expanded Medicaid benefits met for about an hour Thursday afternoon with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
A Portman spokeswoman said his position wasn't changed by the meeting.
“I opposed the last draft of the Senate health proposal because I had concerns about the measure’s Medicaid policies, especially those that impact drug treatment for those suffering from addiction," he said in the statement. "I’ve also consistently said that the Affordable Care Act isn’t working for many Ohio families and small businesses whose premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed, and choices have disappeared as health insurance plans have left Ohio.”
There was no ambiguity with Sen. Sherrod Brown. The Ohio Democrat blasted the new version of the bill, citing its cuts to Medicaid and how that would hurt efforts to combat the deadly opioid drug crisis. He said the bill also would allow insurance companies to charge older people up to five times more for coverage and reduces tax credits to make insurance more affordable.
“I’m ready to work with Republicans to lower costs and make health care work better, but that’s not what this bill does,” Brown said.
The bill's reduction in the rate of Medicaid spending would cause millions of poor people nationwide to lose health-care coverage. The Congressional Budget Office projected earlier that the proposal would cut $772 billion from current Medicaid spending projections over 10 years, slashing the rolls by 15 million.
In Ohio, the cuts jeopardize more than 700,000 poor adults who gained health insurance through the state’s 2014 expansion of Medicaid. About half have been treated for drug addiction or mental illness. Estimates for the state to replace the enhanced federal funding for the expansion have easily topped $1 billion a year.
And the $45 billion added for drug and mental-health treatment over 10 years would average to $4.5 billion a year for the 50 states. With Ohio already spending $1 billion a year to fight the crisis, Gov. John Kasich has likened the amount to "spitting in the ocean."
Ohio health-care advocates also were unswayed by Senate changes to the bill.
“Millions of people will still lose health coverage, you are still eroding Medicaid and not making insurance any more affordable,” said Steve Wagner, executive director of the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio.
He also noted that the new bill would allow low-income people to use government subsidies to pay for “bare-bone (health) plans but I’m not sure how valuable these plans are because they don’t cover essential health benefits like pharmaceutical drug coverage, reproductive health, mammograms, colonoscopies and other health screenings.”
Brandi Slaughter, chief executive officer for Voices for Ohio's Children, dubbed the latest Senate proposal "more of the same — the bill decimates the safety net that protects Ohio’s children and families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities and risks health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions who need them most."
You had 6 years to fix what was wrong with the ACA,
In stead you're on the fence about voting for something that could easily result in people dieing.?
You need to become unemployed.