Keep up the outreach to Senator Portman!
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a Senate health care bill vote until after July 4th recess, amidst widespread backlash against the bill. The criticism is well-earned. This week’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score showed the bill will:
- Leave 22 million Americans without health care coverage by 2026.
- Cause 1.12 million Ohioans to lose their health insurance by 2022.
- Reverse all gains made under the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) in reducing uninsurance rates across the nation.
- End Medicaid expansion, which allowed 723,000 Ohioans to gain coverage.
- Cut federal funding for Medicaid by $772 billion by 2026 and cap the program more steeply than the House bill over time.
- Let states decide if insurers have to cover basic services like maternity care, prescription drugs, substance abuse treatment and hospitalization.
- Decrease the scope of services many plans will cover.
It will, like the House bill, restructure and de-fund Medicaid in ways that fundamentally threaten care, especially for those who are expensive to treat. People who have disabilities, depend on home-based care, are sick or are elderly will perversely be the most at risk under both the House and Senate bills. States simply will not have the money to cover steeply increasing state shares of Medicaid costs, and will be faced with cutting enrollment or services to deal with budget shortfalls.
These sharp cuts to Medicaid not only threaten patients, but Ohio’s growing health care sector and the people who are employed by it.
The heat is on for Senators to get behind such high-stakes legislation for GOP leadership. Assuredly, those Senators (most recently, OH Senator Rob Portman) who are voicing opposition or are on the fence will be wooed with compromises, deals and pools of money that make it look like helpful fixes have been made.
The people who will be left behind by this legislation have to assert the truth: nothing is going to fix this bill. No pot of money is big enough to make up for the loss of quality, comprehensive health insurance coverage. Nothing can fix the dismantling of Medicaid as a cost-efficient, accessible coverage option for low-income Americans.
Recess is an opportunity to remind Senators, over and over again, that making this bill a little less damaging won’t make it acceptable. Loss of coverage for millions of Americans, compromised coverage for those who can get it and loss of affordable insurance options for America’s most vulnerable are unacceptable. No compromise can change that.
If you would like to reach out to Senator Portman directly, you can email him, call him, or write him a letter:
Washington DC: 202-224-3353
Senator Rob Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Please urge Senator Portman to oppose any bill that does any of the following:
- Increases the number of uninsured people across the country.
- Ends Medicaid expansion by phasing out the enhanced federal funding match.
- Cuts funding to Medicaid and restructures Medicaid (under per capita caps or block grants) to shift costs to the states. These changes will threaten care to seniors, kids and people with disabilities who depend on these guaranteed services under Medicaid.
- Makes individual market coverage less affordable for low- and moderate-income people.
- Makes coverage of essential benefits optional.
- Kate Sopko