Brown Warns Against Devastating Impact of Health Law Repeal on Ohio Children

More than half of Ohio’s Medicaid Patients are Children

Brown - Cincinnati Children's Hospital

DAYTON, OH —Today at Dayton Children’s Hospital, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) warned against the devastating impact repealing the Affordable Care Act would have on children and working families. 

Both the Senate and House bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act would gut the Medicaid program and phase out the Medicaid expansion supported by Governor John Kasich. This will hurt children who use Medicaid as their primary source of health insurance and families with special needs children who supplement private insurance with Medicaid.

  • 973,000 children in Ohio rely on Medicaid for their health insurance, making up more than half of all patients on Medicaid. 

“Not everyone may realize that a huge portion of the people Medicaid helps are Ohioans who are working, who pay taxes, but who have a child with a disability or with serious special needs,” said Brown. “These are children just like any other, who are loved by their families, and who just happened to be dealt a tougher hand in life.

The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act would convert Medicaid into a per-capita cap starting in 2020. While this would apply to many groups, it carves out children with disabilities under the age of 19 from the cap. Those who drafted the Senate bill claim that this so-called “carve out” will guarantee continued Medicaid coverage for these children, when in reality it will leave these children’s health and coverage at risk, because States will be faced with much less federal Medicaid funding, and over time, Ohio will be forced to make cuts to Medicaid across the entire program. Those cuts will hurt all those who get coverage through Medicaid including children with special needs.

Key Facts About Medicaid and Children:

  • Nationwide, Medicaid covers more than 30 million children. Children account for more than two-fifths of Medicaid enrollees, but less than one-fifth of the program’s spending.
  • Nearly one million Ohio children are covered by the State’s Medicaid program, accounting for more than half of Ohio’s entire Medicaid population.
  • Approximately 483,000 children in Ohio – or seventeen percent of all children in the state – have severe disabilities or special health care needs, such as autism, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy. Nearly half of all children with special health care needs in Ohio rely entirely or in part on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would leave these children without other options for health insurance.
  • The insured rate for children in Ohio is at an all-time high since passage of the Affordable Care Act, with 96 percent of children insured.

Brown was joined by Debbie Feldman, CEO of Dayton Children’s Hospital, Dr. Jonathan Thackeray, Chief Medical Community Health Officer of Dayton Children’s Hospital, and Laura McKenzie from Urbana, whose twin sons are covered under Medicaid. 

“Most people do not know that Medicaid is the single largest provider of health care to kids,” said Debbie Feldman. “Kids are over 40 percent of the enrollees in Medicaid and yet they are just under 20 percent of the cost - and because they are the largest group of Medicaid recipients any cuts to the program impacts kids the most.”