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Dems bring health care message

The chairman of Ohio’s Democratic Party made a stop in Ironton on Wednesday to highlight what he said were the differences in his party and Republicans on the issue of health care.

David Pepper spoke at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites , along with Ryan Ottney, of New Boston, who is running for the 14th District state Senate seat and Shawna Roberts, who is running for the congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio.

“There’s so much going on in politics,” Pepper said. “There’s a tweet a day, but we know when most Ohioans vote, the most important issue for them will be health care.”

Pepper said his party is “very committed to broad access to health care and protecting those with pre-existing conditions.”

“Donald Trump promised he would do that as president, but it hasn’t happened,” Pepper said.

He said health care costs are up and that protections for pre-existing conditions are threatened by a Trump-backed lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“If he wins that, many Ohioans are at risk of losing care,” Pepper said.

He said if Republicans move to end Medicaid expansion, provided by the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama, more Ohioans will lose health care.

Ottney said his party is focused on capping the price of insulin, protecting those with pre-existing conditions and working on the issue of infant mortality.

“Republicans are doing things like putting out work requirements for those on Medicaid,” he said. “These are people who are sick and elderly. Where are they supposed to find jobs?”

Ottney said as many as 60,000 could lose Medicaid coverage in Ohio and many people without insurance are hesitant to seek care.

“They’re afraid to go to the doctor,” he said. “They’re afraid of the cost. They just try to ride out the illness.”

Pepper said that the number of uninsured in Ohio rose in 2018, something that happened in seven other states. He said the uninsured rate for children has risen 28 percent from 2016-2018, amounting to nearly 30,000 children.

“(Gov. Mike) DeWine and folks in Columbus say they’re not able to explain it,” Pepper said. “But there has been a nonstop attack on health care.”

Pepper said Republicans and Trump have failed to follow through on promises on health care.

“Instead, things have been going in the opposite direction,” he said.

Pepper also made stops in Chillicothe and Marietta on Wednesday to speak on the issue with local candidates.