Category Page: Press Releases

Press Release: House Passes Trumpcare Bill with 10 Ohio Representatives Voting Yes – May 4, 2017

Press Release: House Passes Trumpcare Bill with 10 Ohio Representatives Voting Yes – May 4, 2017

Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act, or “Trumpcare,” the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill narrowly passed by a vote of 217-213. Under this bill, an estimated 964,000 or more Ohioans could lose health coverage by 2019.[i]

“It’s disgraceful that the House voted to pass this bill that will take away health care from at least 24 million Americans and destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” said Steve Wagner, executive director of Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio). “Republicans who voted for this bill have betrayed the millions of Americans who will lose coverage or end up paying much more for coverage that provides less care. They promised better health care, not tax cuts for the rich.”

Under Trumpcare, over 4.5 million Ohioans with a pre-existing condition will face loss of insurance, higher premiums, or “job-lock” – being unable to leave a job because of the inability to buy private coverage.[ii] On top of the standard cost of insurance, Ohioans with breast cancer could end up annually paying $22,630 more for coverage, Ohioans with diabetes could pay $4,420 more, and Ohioans could pay $13,670 more for a pregnancy.[iii] Ohioans who get their insurance through the Marketplace could see their annual costs rise by an average of $1,116.[iv]

Trumpcare would shift $22 billion in Medicaid costs to Ohio over ten years, putting health care for millions of Ohioans at risk.[v] The cuts would effectively end Medicaid expansion, and the 700,000 Ohioans who gained health coverage through Medicaid expansion will stand to lose access to health care. Other cuts to Medicaid mean more than two million Ohio children, older adults, and people with disabilities will be at risk of losing coverage or having fewer covered services.

People with employer-sponsored insurance would also be affected by the bill. States can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, which require health plans to cover services like maternity and preventive care. This would also allow insurers to reinstate annual and lifetime limits on coverage, which were banned by the ACA, but only for essential health benefits. Anyone with a plan allowing lifetime limits could be one health crisis away from bankruptcy. There’s more bad news for working Ohioans – Trumpcare could cost the state 81,385 lost jobs by 2022.[vi]

Click here for a fact sheet on the other impacts of Trumpcare.

Among Ohio’s members of Congress, Representatives Steve Chabot (R), Brad Wenstrup (R), Jim Jordan (R), Robert Latta (R), Bill Johnson (R), Bob Gibbs (R), Warren Davidson (R), Pat Tiberi (R), Steve Stivers (R), and Jim Renacci (R) voted to pass the bill. Representatives Joyce Beatty (D), Marcia Fudge (D), Marcy Kaptur (D), Tim Ryan (D), Michael Turner (R), and David Joyce (R) voted no on Trumpcare.[vii]

“House Republicans recklessly passed the bill without taking time to understand its effects and how many people it could harm. They are accountable for taking away health care from hundreds of thousands of their constituents and condemning Ohioans to poor health, medical debt, and bankruptcy in exchange for tax cuts for the rich. Representatives Turner and Joyce are exceptions who stood by their constituents to protect their health,” said Wagner.

UHCAN Ohio is a statewide non-partisan, non-profit organization building the voice of consumers to achieve quality, affordable, accessible health coverage for all Ohioans. www.uhcanohio.org

 

[i] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “964,000 Ohio Residents Would Lose Coverage in 2019 Under ACA Repeal,” December 7, 2016, http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/12-7-16health-factsheets-oh.pdf.

[ii] Emily Gee, “Number of Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions by Congressional District,” Center for American Progress, April 5, 2017, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2017/04/05/430059/number-americans-pre-existing-conditions-congressional-district/.

[iii]  Sam Berger and Emily Gee, “Premium Increases for Pre-Existing Conditions Under Latest ACA Repeal Plan, by State,” Center for American Progress, April 21, 2017, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2017/04/21/431019/premium-increases-pre-existing-conditions-latest-aca-repeal-plan-state/.

[iv] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “House Republican Health Plan Would Mean More Uninsured, Costlier Coverage in Ohio,” April 13, 2017, http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/4-13-17health-factsheets-oh.pdf.

[v] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “House Republican Health Plan Would Mean More Uninsured, Costlier Coverage in Ohio,” April 13, 2017, http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/4-13-17health-factsheets-oh.pdf.

[vi] Josh Bivens, “How many jobs could the AHCA cost your state?” Economic Policy Institute, March 24, 2017, http://www.epi.org/publication/how-many-jobs-could-the-ahca-cost-your-state/.

[vii] Office of the Clerk, “FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 256,” US House of Representatives, May 4, 2017, http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll256.xml.

 

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Latest Changes to American Health Act Little More than a Fig Leaf

Latest Changes to American Health Act Little More than a Fig Leaf

The latest additions to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will do nothing to cure its fundamental defects of breaking repeated promises from Congressional Republicans to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the AHCA from the floor in March because he didn’t have the votes to be sure of its passage. A “deal” (Meadows-McArthur amendment) during the Congressional recess made a bad bill worse, giving states an opportunity to seek a nearly automatic waiver from both the essential benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the requirements to charge persons in the individual market the same regardless of a pre-existing condition. This deal converted the resistant Freedom Caucus Republicans from a “no” vote on AHCA to a likely “yes” vote.

But centrist Republicans began to express opposition to the amendment as they returned from recess. The President and House Leadership have continued to “tweak” the bill to try to get to the magic number of 216 votes. This week the Upton-Long amendment surfaced with an offering of $8 billion to be added to the $130 billion AHCA for the states. If this money is to encourage states to create high risk pools, it is way short of the amount needed.

Republicans in the House can do all the backroom vote-trading they want; their bill will still harm most Ohioans because it not only guts essential benefits and pre-existing condition protections, it will result in the restoration of annual and lifetime caps on benefits, a very popular provision of the ACA.

Bottom Line:

  • 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026.
  • Medicaid would be cut by $839 billion over ten years. Under the House bill, 14 million fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid by 2026.
  • People who currently purchase coverage through the ACA marketplaces would see large increases in their premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs.
  • High-income people would receive billions of dollars in tax cuts, averaging over $50,000 per year for people with incomes exceeding $1 million.

This isn’t what people in America want. It is time for the GOP to drop this crazed fixation on repeal and move on.

Press Release: Congress Revives Trumpcare Again, Targets Pre-Existing Conditions – 4/27/2017

Press Release: Congress Revives Trumpcare Again, Targets Pre-Existing Conditions – 4/27/2017

House Republicans are again trying to revive the American Health Care Act, or Trumpcare, after the bill was pulled before going to a vote in late March. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the original bill would cause 24 million people to lose health coverage. This time, an amendment to the bill could take away coverage for even more people, including those with pre-existing conditions.

Click here for a fact sheet on what Trumpcare would do.

Newer amendments to the bill make it likely that even more people will lose coverage than originally estimated. An amendment would allow states to request waivers that would exempt them from certain requirements of the Affordable Care Act. States could waive the “community rating” rules that prevent insurers from charging people more for coverage if they have a pre-existing condition. The amendment proposes high-risk pools as an alternative for people with pre-existing conditions who couldn’t afford the higher premiums.

“By allowing insurance companies to once again charge people higher premiums based on their health, the new Trumpcare amendment will prevent people with pre-existing conditions from getting health care,” said Steve Wagner, Executive Director of Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio). “We’ve seen that high-risk pools don’t work. State high-risk pools before the Affordable Care Act were underfunded and came with limits on coverage, high premiums, and high deductibles.”

The amendment would also allow states to waive the requirement that all insurance plans provide “essential health benefits” such as maternity care, mental health treatment, and substance abuse treatment. That means people who need certain kinds of care, like cancer treatment or high-cost drugs, could end up paying more for a plan that covers it. Women will once again pay more than men for coverage to get a plan that covers maternity care and other services. This would also allow insurers to once again impose lifetime and annual limits on coverage, which were banned under the Affordable Care Act, but only for services classified as essential health benefits.

“Ending the requirement that all plans provide essential health benefits will force consumers to buy more expensive plans to get the care they need,” said Wagner. “Trumpcare would already raise premiums, and this amendment means consumers will get less while paying more.”

While Congress has moved forward with this damaging bill, House Republicans have done nothing to address the ongoing issue of cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs). Insurance companies are required by law to provide help with out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and copays for low-income Marketplace enrollees. In return they should receive payments from the federal government, but controversy has created uncertainty over how these payments will be made. Without these payments, insurance companies will either raise premiums to compensate themselves for the CSRs or pull out of the insurance Marketplace altogether.

There have been rumors that the House may vote on the bill Friday. “Congress has already tried to pass this bill and failed,” said Wagner. “At town halls and in legislators’ offices, Americans have made their voices heard that they don’t want this bill. Our representatives need to stop trying to sabotage our health care and start to work on making it better instead.”

UHCAN Ohio is a statewide non-partisan, non-profit organization building the voice of consumers to achieve quality, affordable, accessible health coverage for all Ohioans. www.uhcanohio.org

 

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Press Release: Proposed State Budget Adds Work Requirements for Medicaid Expansion – 4/26/2017

Press Release: Proposed State Budget Adds Work Requirements for Medicaid Expansion- 4/26/2017

Yesterday Ohio’s House of Representatives released their proposed state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019, including the state Medicaid budget. The proposed Medicaid budget would change the eligibility requirements for the Medicaid expansion so that to qualify, enrollees would need to meet one of the following requirements: be 55 or older; have “intensive health care needs;” or be either employed, in school, or participating in an alcohol and drug addiction treatment program. A state budget must be passed by the Ohio legislature by June 30, 2017.

“Medicaid works, and it should be for everyone who needs it. This proposal takes away coverage from people who need health care and most likely have no other way to get it,” said Steve Wagner, Executive Director of Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio). “Under this proposal, someone who has just been laid off from their job would no longer be eligible for Medicaid at the time they need it most. The same is true for a recent graduate who’s job hunting or someone who’s on a waiting list for drug and alcohol addiction treatment.”

The people affected by the proposed eligibility requirements are those who gained coverage through the Medicaid expansion. Before the expansion, most of this group was uninsured. Now that they are enrolled in Medicaid, they have better access to care, better management of health issues, and reduced use of the emergency room. Enrollees also say Medicaid made it easier to keep or seek employment and to meet their other basic needs.[i] A recently released study by researchers at The Ohio State University found that most people covered by the Medicaid expansion would have no other way to get coverage if they were no longer eligible for Medicaid.[ii]

Requiring Medicaid recipients to be employed is likely to cause many people to lose coverage. Most Medicaid enrollees who can work are already employed, and those who aren’t are often unable to work or have barriers to employment that make it difficult to gain or keep a job. This eligibility requirement is likely to cause many Ohioans to lose access to health care without significantly increasing employment.[iii] The proposal also does not include additional funding to create jobs, increase and improve job training, or provide meaningful help finding work for unemployed enrollees that would provide private employer health insurance.

“Studies have shown that work requirements don’t cut poverty, and they often make it worse,” said Wagner. “Taking away health care from struggling Ohioans will make it harder for them to work, not easier, especially for people who need care to stay healthy enough to work.”

UHCAN Ohio is a statewide non-partisan, non-profit organization building the voice of consumers to achieve quality, affordable, accessible health coverage for all Ohioans. www.uhcanohio.org

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[i] “Ohio Medicaid Group VIII Assessment: A Report to the Ohio General Assembly,” Ohio Department of Medicaid, December 30, 2016, http://medicaid.ohio.gov/portals/0/resources/reports/annual/group-viii-assessment.pdf.

[ii] Misti Crane, “Most new to Medicaid have no other option if Affordable Care Act repealed,” Ohio State University, April 24, 2017, https://news.osu.edu/news/2017/04/24/medicaid-expansion-repeal/.

[iii] Hannah Katch, “Medicaid Work Requirement Would Limit Health Care Access Without Significantly Boosting Employment,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 13, 2016, http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-work-requirement-would-limit-health-care-access-without-significantly.

April 6, 2017 – Press Release – Health Care Forum Brings Together Faith Leaders and Community Members

April 6, 2017 – Press Release – Health Care Forum Brings Together Faith Leaders and Community Members

March 23, 2017 – Press Release – Advocates Build Support at Statehouse for Dental Therapist Legislation

March 23, 2017 – Press Release – Advocates Build Support at Statehouse for Dental Therapist Legislation