Ohioans expected to lose out if Obamacare is replaced

Ohioans expected to lose out if Obamacare is replaced
(Source: Raycom Media)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Local experts tell Cleveland 19 that the state of Ohio will lose out if the Republican backed plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) becomes law.

The US House of Representatives will vote Thursday on a bill that would replace the ACA. The bill would, among other things, get rid of Medicaid expansion in Ohio. That means that more than 700,000 Ohioans who received Medicaid insurance coverage through that expansion would no longer qualify.

Joe White, the Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy at Case Western, told Cleveland 19 that if those thousands of people who become uninsured still go to hospitals for health care without insurance it could be bad for hospitals.

"If the hospitals are getting a bunch of people who are sick and they're not getting paid for it they will raise prices to the insurers who your employer is using, and your employer probably will cut your benefits," said White.

He also said, economics aside, most people likely know someone who has insurance through Medicaid.

"The even more important effect is what might happen to them or their family if they're ever not getting their insurance through their employer," said White.

John Corlett, the president of the Center for Community Solutions told Cleveland 19 that a large percentage of adults are covered by Medicaid in Cuyahoga county.

Numbers from the state say nearly a quarter of adults in Cuyahoga County receive Medicaid.

"The overall message is details matter. A lot of this has been sort of talked about in every general term, but I think pay attention to the details. I think quite simply if you're taking away from the state of Ohio almost $26 billion in [Medicaid] payments for healthcare, those costs are gonna get shifted on to someone else and it could very well get shifted on to those who are privately covered," said Corlett.

In addition to the Medicaid expansion rollback, the GOP bill would also get rid of a mandate to get insurance or pay a penalty, it would also get rid of the penalty on large employers that don't offer medical insurance.

The bill would give more tax credits to younger adults, and decrease tax credits to older folks. It would also do away with the ACA's requirement that older people's health insurance premiums can't be more than three times younger people's premiums. Under the GOP bill, premiums for seniors could be five times as high as those of younger people.

On Wednesday, Cleveland 19 News plans to take a look at the impact of the Medicaid expansion rollback for those struggling with mental health or drug addiction issues who may lose their coverage.

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