Portman expresses concerns with ACA replacement

Published 10:50 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

Senator worries that changes to Medicaid could hurt mental health and recovery coverage

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, spoke with reporters on Tuesday and expressed reservations about the House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Portman said that he had sent a letter outlining his concerns with the Feb. 10 draft of the replacement legislation. He said that the plan from the House didn’t adequately protect those covered under the Medicaid expansion, and that the state of Ohio would like more flexibility on that program.

He also expressed a concern that if it was poorly timed or planned, it could negatively impact families currently covered.

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“We’ve got to work to ensure that those who signed up for expanded Medicaid (have options),” he said.

He said this has to include the expanded access to mental health care and addiction recovery that the plan currently provides.

He told reporters that he “(doesn’t) know honestly” what the impact would be if the new health care plan was implemented as-is. But he said that he wanted to make sure we don’t end up with “the rug pulled out from under” those using Medicaid.

Portman has in the past emphasized the need for fixing the parts of the ACA that are unpopular, like higher insurance costs, while retaining the coverage afforded by expanded Medicaid.

Portman also took time on the call to condemn recent hate crimes directed at Jewish and Muslim centers. He noted that he visited the Jewish Community Center in Columbus over the weekend to show support after JCCs across the country received several recent bomb threats.

All 100 members of the Senate, he said, also signed a letter urging the Trump administration to take action in response to the threats.

“This is a chance for all of us to show solidarity and condemn hatred and bigotry,” Portman said.

He also spoke out against recent threats received by an Islamic Center in Cincinnati, stating, “We need to be speaking out against bigotry and hatred wherever we see it.”