Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wants a more forceful response from Ohio Republicans regarding the Trump administration's attempts to hobble the Affordable Care Act.
In a surprise move last month, the U.S. Justice Department decided to no longer defend the health care law commonly known as Obamacare. A federal judge in Texas ruled late last year that the entire Affordable Care Act should be invalidated.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, quickly filed briefs urging the court not to throw out protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But Brown says Republican state officials need to be more outspoken.
“I think that Gov. DeWine and Attorney General Yost have gone halfway there,” he says. “Let’s go the whole way and say, 'Mr. President, stop doing that,' the way Sen. Portman and I said to the president, 'Stop cutting funding for Lake Erie in every one of your budgets.'”
Speaking at John R. Maloney Health Center on Columbus' South Side, Brown argued the stakes of allowing the Texas judge’s ruling to stand are monumental.
“Protections for more than 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions would be gone, the ability to stay on your parents insurance until you’re 26, that would be gone, Ohio’s entire Medicaid expansion, that would be gone,” Brown rattles off.
Also on the chopping block, Brown says, are caps on out-of-pocket expenses and prescription drug coverage for seniors.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says the president’s rhetoric against the ACA is already having a detrimental effect, even if the law remains in force.
“The number of uninsured Americans has gone up,” Klein says. “The CBO estimated the number of uninsured Americans under the age of 65 has grown from 27 million in 2016 to 29 million in 2018.”
Along with several other cities, Columbus filed a lawsuit against the administration last year for allegedly sabotaging the health care law.
Last week, Brown filed a measure to establish a government-run healthcare option on the ACA exchanges.