Ohio’s people are healthier, its economy stronger and its state budget more stable – all because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The findings, contained in a new report by Policy Matters Ohio, come as some Congressional Republicans, emboldened by the surprise election of Donald Trump, are vowing a quick repeal of President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement with no hint of how or when they will replace it.
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The ACA’s growing chorus of supporters hopes the new study provides the ammunition needed for Congress to not hastily repeal it without a proper replacement.
“Repeal would jeopardize health care for nearly 1 million Ohioans, cause a $3.5 billion loss in federal money to the upcoming state budget and reverse economic benefits to hospitals across Ohio,’’ Policy Matters Senior Project Director, Wendy Patton told a news conference.
As critics are eager to scrap the ACA, Patton reminded Ohio how it has improved peoples’ lives:
- Those with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance.
- Women don’t have to pay higher rates than men.
- Limits or caps on lifetime coverage are prohibited.
- Moderate-income families qualify for subsidies so they can afford insurance coverage.
- The working poor can get coverage through Medicaid and that helps them stay employed.
President-elect Trump wants an immediate repeal and a replacement “very quickly or simultaneously.’’ But five Senate Republicans, including Ohio’s Rob Portman, want to slow down the repeal and give Congress more time to craft an appropriate replacement.
Patton said that Sen. Portman’s call for a replacement gives her hope that a meaningful one can be adopted.
Please call Sen. Portman and tell him to keep working for a meaningful replacement.
The ACA has strong support among business leaders like Tim Colburn, President and CEO, Berger Health Partners in Circleville.
“Hospitals are important economic drivers in Ohio. In Pickaway County, like many rural counties, the local hospital is one of the largest employers,’’ Colburn told the news conference. “ACA has strengthened Berger Health System by reducing the financial burden of providing care for the uninsured. Through Ohio’s Medicaid expansion under the ACA, nearly 2,800 Pickaway County residents now have access to healthcare services.’’
Colburn said that repealing the ACA without a planned replacement “will have significant impacts on the vibrancy of Berger Health System and on the health and wellness of the people we serve.”
Dr. Beth Liston of Columbus said the ACA saves money and saves lives.
“I have seen the complications of treatment delays due to access. Something like a bladder infection can lead to a serious kidney infection, sending patients in to the hospital,’’ she said. “The average cost of a single day in a public hospital is $2000 – about 10 times more than what it would cost to treat the patient early in a primary care office.’’
Also speaking was Rev. Eric Brown, pastor of the Woodland Christian Church in Columbus.
“It is irresponsible and inhumane to repeal the ACA without a better plan to replace it – not a different plan, a better plan,’’ he said.
“If Congress succeeds in repealing ACA without a better replacement, Congress will make itself one large death panel.’’