COLUMBUS, OH —Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined a central Ohio patient currently in recovery for addiction, along with Columbus-area leaders and stakeholders, to stand up against the Graham-Cassidy healthcare repeal bill. The legislation eliminates Medicaid expansion and includes additional cuts to Medicaid – the most important tool for the treatment of opioid addiction in Ohio.
- According to a Harvard study more than 220,000 Ohioans with addiction or mental health disorders now have coverage under the Affordable Care Act – 151,257 through the Medicaid expansion and 69,225 under private insurance purchased through the marketplace. Repeal would kick those people off of their insurance, potentially disrupting treatment services for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans as they are fighting for their lives.
- There is no additional money in this bill to fight opioids after cutting Medicaid. Medicaid covered 70 percent of the $939 million the state invested in the opioid epidemic last year.
“Of course we have a long way to go to improve our health care system and fight the opioid epidemic, and I stand ready to work with anyone, on either side of the aisle,” said Brown. “But when it comes to changes to Medicaid, I agree with Governor Kasich – we need to work together on a bipartisan plan that protects Ohio’s number one tool to fight addiction, and the Senate plan does the opposite.”
Brown was joined by Jessica, a central Ohio patient currently in treatment for addiction. Brown was also joined by Netcare Access President and CEO King Stumpp and Columbus City Council President Zach Klein.
“Netcare Access has been the 24/7/365 ‘front door’ for ADAMH Franklin County since 1995, treating residents who are experiencing a drug and alcohol or mental health crisis. We have been on the front line of the opiate epidemic, which is producing fatalities at an alarming rate. The ACA and Medicaid expansion have provided much greater access to physical and behavioral healthcare for this population. It would be inhumane to eliminate this access during an opiate epidemic and that is what the Graham-Cassidy proposal effectively does,” said Stumpp.
Brown has worked with members of both parties to secure federal resources and address the opioid crisis in Ohio communities. Earlier this month, Brown called on President Trump to take immediate action on the opioid crisis and answer specific questions about the President’s overdue promise to declare the epidemic a national emergency.
More on Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill
Graham-Cassidy specifically targets and punishes states like Ohio that expanded Medicaid by taking money Ohio currently gets and giving it to states that did not expand their Medicaid program. This is on top of overall dramatic cuts to all states.
According to a study from Avalere, Graham Cassidy would cut federal funding to Ohio by $9 billion from 2020-2026, $19 billion by 2027 and $161 billion by 2036 – a 31% cut that the state’s budget simply can’t afford.
In addition, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the House GOP plan - which is nearly identical to Graham-Cassidy - would cause premiums to go up an average of about 20 percent next year. Some analyses have shown that this bill could drive up premiums and drive out insurers even more.
Further, Graham-Cassidy allows insurance companies to charge Ohioans age 50 and older more for their insurance. According to data compiled by the Senate Committee on Aging, the House GOP plan - which is nearly identical to Graham-Cassidy - would raise the insurance premiums of an average 60-year-old in Ohio by $1,609 annually.