Sen. Sherrod Brown was in Cleveland yesterday encouraging people to make their voices heard about the proposed Senate Health Care Bill -- which could be voted on this week -- and what it could do to Ohio’s battle against opioid abuse.
The senator – a Democrat -- spoke at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in downtown Cleveland. The inpatient detox facility there sees about 65 percent of its opioid patients paid for through the Medicaid expansion created under Obamacare. The new plan would wipe that out. Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed was also there, and asked, “If the overarching goal is to save people’s lives, the question has to be asked, ‘why are we cutting Medicaid?’”
Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson says he doesn’t want to be cynical about the potential funding cut, but “if you’re not going to support treatment for people who can recover, you should expect that you’re going to see more people die of a disease.”
Sen. Brown wants Ohioans to weigh-in on the healthcare proposal.
“Talk to my office, talk to Sen. Portman’s office, talk to House members – because if this passes, it goes right back to the House for another vote. And people should weigh in and tell their stories, tell them why this is wrong, tell them if they think it’s as morally reprehensible as I do to give tax cuts to the insurance companies.”
Sen. Brown’s office estimates that Ohio spent about $700 million Medicaid-dollars battling the opioid epidemic last year, while the new healthcare plan is creating a $2 billion pool for the entire country to share for a decade. If split evenly among the 50 states, that works out to a 99.5 percent funding cut for Ohio.
Ohio’s other Senator, Republican Rob Portman, has said he has concerns about Medicaid policies in the bill, especially those impacting drug treatment.
Sen. Brown’s office: 202-224-2315
Sen. Portman’s office: 202-224-3353
Phone numbers for your state and local representatives can be obtained by texting your zip code to 520-200-2223.