Action Alert: Senate to vote on health care next week, Portman undecided

June 22, 2017 / Medicaid

Ohio's U.S. Senator Rob Portman is undecided on the American Health Care Act. Call NOW to tell him to vote NO.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) next week. Although the bill has not been made public, media reports indicate that it may be harsher than the House version. That bill eliminates Medicaid expansion, cuts Medicaid by $800 billion and caps the amount of Medicaid funding states will receive per person, which will unquestionably lead to cuts in services for people with disabilities and their families.

Calling only takes a minute. A staff member will answer or you can leave a message on voicemail. If you need some talking points, here are some things you can say:

  • 85% of Americans believe that people with disabilities should be able to keep Medicaid benefits, including 83% of conservatives, 83% percent of moderates and 89% of liberals.
  • Senator Portman cares deeply about fighting the opioid crisis in Ohio. In Ohio, nearly one-third of people covered under Medicaid expansion are using their benefits to get help for an addiction. If Medicaid expansion is cut, people struggling with addiction will again lack treatment options, and Ohio will lose more of its citizens to opioid abuse.
  • Cuts to Medicaid will not give Ohio more "flexibility." People with disabilities rely on Medicaid for in-home supportive care, therapy, medication, durable medical equipment like wheelchairs and lifts, and many other services that allow them to live in the community. Because these home and community-based services are optional under federal law, people will be forced out of the community and into institutions if benefits are capped.
  • Ohio stands to lose $22 billion of federal Medicaid funding over a 10-year period, shifting those costs to the state. Ohio would have to raise taxes, cut other parts of its budget, like education, or - most likely -severely cut Medicaid services, eligibility and provider payments to make up for this shortfall. In the past, it has been hard for states to absorb Medicaid cuts as small as 2%, but the AHCA's proposed cap could lead to 10% cuts.
  • The proposed federal caps will not adjust as Ohio's needs change. If a cap like the one proposed in the AHCA had been in effect from 2001-2011, Ohio would have lost 8% of federal Medicaid funds. The needs of people with disabilities will not go away because there is less money - instead, their needs simply won't be met. 

Your call matters. Call Senator Portman every day between now and the vote next week.

Portman's regional and federal offices:

  • 513-684-3265 Cincinnati
  • 216-522-7095 Cleveland
  • 614-469-6774 Columbus
  • 419-259-3895 Toledo
  • 202-224-3353 Washington, DC

For more information about the proposed Medicaid cuts, read Medicaid and Per Capita Caps from the Center for Public Representation.

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