WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) blasted the Senate’s draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, citing its elimination of the Medicaid expansion and additional cuts to Medicaid – one of the most important funding supports for the treatment of opioid addiction in Ohio.
“This bill takes away the number one tool we have in the fight against opioids – Medicaid treatment. We cannot allow Washington to rip the rug out from under Ohio communities,” Brown said. “Instead of raising prices on people over 50 and working families, we should be working together to lower costs, fight the opioid epidemic and make healthcare work better for everyone.”
- 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.
- The bill would end the Medicaid expansion, which allows thousands of Ohioans to get treatment, and replace it with just $2 billion to address the opioid crisis in the entire country. Last year, Ohio alone spent nearly $1 billion on the opioid epidemic. Medicaid covered 70 percent of the $939 million the state invested in the opioid epidemic last year. Experts said even as much as a $45 billion investment won’t work.
The bill would not only take away coverage for addiction treatment, but it also does nothing to lower costs for Ohioans struggling to afford their premiums or prescription drug costs.
- Ohioans between the ages of 50 and 65 who do not have coverage through an employer would face even higher healthcare costs and be charged up to five times as much for coverage, and all Ohioans could lose access to essential health benefits currently mandated under the Affordable Care Act, such as mental health services and maternity coverage.
The House bill the Senate used as the basis for its replacement bill would cause premiums to go up an average of about 20 percent next year.