WYSO

Ohio's U.S. Senators Discuss The Future Of Health Care

Aug 4, 2017

The failure of the U.S. Senate’s proposed plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act leaves the program intact. But most Senators, on both sides of the aisle, say if the program is kept, changes must be made to make it function on a long term basis. 

Sen Rob Portman (L) and Sen Sherrod Brown (R)
Credit Statehouse News Bureau

Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman voted for one version of the proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act. He said it included provisions that he thinks would shore up the program.

“There was a pathway forward which included the amendment that I had included in the package that the Senate voted one…the Portman amendment that provided ways to cover people who are leaving Medicaid expansion and also others who would be low income Ohioans and low income Americans who would need access to health care plans that have a relatively low premium but also have a deductible that’s affordable.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown voted against the health care provision Portman supported.

“You take away hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicaid and then you throw some money at the problem. For instance, if someone had cancer, you don’t cancel their insurance and then use a federal grant to pay the oncologist. You want to make sure they have full service insurance. That’s what we do with Medicaid. That’s what we did with the Affordable Care Act. And you don’t start by stripping millions of Americans, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans of their insurance.”

Brown says he’d like see the age of eligibility for Medicare lowered. He also thinks it’s important to attract more young, healthy people into the insurance pools and rein in prescription drug costs. Portman says he wants to make sure any future health care changes include enough money to battle the opioid crisis in Ohio.  Both Portman and Brown say changes must be made to the existing Affordable Health Care Act to make it more stable. But that won’t happen soon as the issue is off the table in the U.S. Senate for now.