Recently, Senator Rob Portman responded to a letter sent from OPHA regarding his position on the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. A portion of his response follows:
“As you know, members of the House of Representatives recently passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. This bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), replaces Obamacare with a market-driven health insurance system and makes significant changes to the Medicaid program. Since the AHCA has passed in the House, it now comes to the Senate for debate.
I have already made clear that I do not support the House bill as it is currently constructed. My concerns that the AHCA does not do enough to protect Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population, especially those who are receiving treatment for heroin and prescription drug abuse, remain unchanged. We have an opioid epidemic in this country, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on solutions that will ensure those who are caught in the grips of this epidemic can continue to get the treatment they need.
This said, we must not lose sight of the fact that, for many Ohioans, the status quo is unacceptable. Individuals and families continue to face higher health care costs and fewer choices for health care providers. Insurance companies, saddled with costly and cumbersome regulations, continue to pull their health plans from the individual market across the State. Small businesses continue to pay more money for insurance premiums that could have otherwise been used to hire more employees or provide better pay for those they already employ. Congress must provide solutions to these problems, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to do so.
After seven years of increasing costs and decreasing choices under the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that the current course of our health care system is unsustainable. Ohio families who are struggling to pay for health care need relief soon. Our nation’s health care system is broken, and while changing such a large and complicated system is no easy task, I believe that such change is necessary to ensure affordable access to high quality care for Ohioans and Americans across the country for years to come.
Rob Portman, U.S. Senator