Portman bails on GOP's health care bill - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Portman bails on GOP's health care bill

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Right after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed the vote on the Senate health care bill Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman joined a growing bench of Republicans publicly opposing the current draft of the controversial plan to repeal Obamacare.

Portman has been seen as a critical voice on the Republican health care bill and was publicly undecided until Tuesday.  He said the draft would undermine the Ohio's effort to combat the opioid crisis and would hurt low-income Ohioans. 

"I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill," Portman said in a written statement Tuesday. "Especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic."

At least nine Senate Republicans across the ideological spectrum of the party had said they do not support McConnell and the White House's current health care proposals including moderates Sens. Susan Collins and Dean Heller and conservative Sens. Ron Johnson, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. 

McConnell can only afford to lose two senators.

The Senate Republican health care bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026, according to projections of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

The bill which aims to dismantle Obama-era health regulations gives an estimated $700 billion tax cut to wealthy Americans and health companies while putting maternity care, mental health care, rehabilitation care and nursing home coverage at risk — a tough pill to swallow for Republicans in states that received the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The bill also preserves some entitlements, scaring off Cruz and Paul who want a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. 

Roughly 7 million fewer people would buy insurance, the CBO projected. The bill provides less generous financial support to purchase private coverage compared to the Affordable Care Act, and patients would have to pick up the tab on more out-of-pocket expenses. Specifically, the uninsured rate among older, low-income Americans would spike as the result of much higher premiums.

Gov. John Kasich blasted Senate Republicans Tuesday for the controversial bill. 

"That's good policy?" Kasich said at a news conference in Washington. "What, are you kidding me?" 

Kasich was a fierce opponent of the House health care plan, which is similar to the Senate's draft. The Ohio governor said the House version put 800,000 Ohioans who receive Medicaid at risk of losing care. President Donald Trump called the House measure "mean." 

“Who would lose this coverage?” Kasich said. “The mentally ill, the drug addicted, the chronically ill. I believe these are people that need to have coverage.”

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