Brown on Senate Healthcare Bill: Can’t Take Away Number One Tool in Fight Against Opioids

Bill Would Also Drive Up Costs for Everyone, Charge 50 Year Olds Five Times More

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 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.

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