Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NEWS | Report: Repealing Affordable Care Act risky for Ohioans

By Mary Kuhlman
Ohio News Connection

Congress is considering repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act, a plan that a new report suggests would double the number of uninsured people in Ohio and other states.

The Urban Institute research shows that in Ohio, more than 960,000 children and adults would lose coverage.

Brandi Slaughter, CEO of Voices for Ohio's Children, says without alternative health policies, the historic gains in improving the uninsured rate would be lost.

"Ohio has over 95 percent of our children covered, so repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement strategy, it's not a plan," she stresses. "It's really risky and threatens the health and well-being of children and families in our state."

The partial repeal would come through the budget reconciliation process and include the elimination of the premium tax credits, Medicaid expansion and the individual mandate.

Senate Republicans have said rolling back the law would have few impacts on the number of people without health insurance. But the report shows that nearly 30 million Americans would lose coverage.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, says there is a lot of misinformation about who would be most impacted by a repeal of the ACA. She explains it's not just those who are low-income.

"Eighty-two percent of those losing coverage would be in working families," she points out. "The majority of those are non-Hispanic whites and 80 percent of the adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees."

Alker adds repeal would also cause chaos in state budgets.

"Families' health care needs won't disappear if their coverage goes away," she points out. "And the responsibility for responding to that will fall squarely into the states' lap and we'll have huge gaps in our health care safety net."

The report shows that over a 10-year period, Ohio would lose $48 billion in federal funding to meet the health needs of its residents.

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