Obamacare repeal would leave more than 220,000 Ohioans without mental health or drug addiction services, study says
January 11, 2017|By Jackie Borchardt
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A pair of reports released Wednesday show repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement program would jeopardize health coverage for nearly 1 million Ohioans, many who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse.
President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans plan to roll back major provisions of the 2010 health care law, also known as Obamacare, early this year. But they have yet to suggest an alternative to the program, which provides health insurance coverage to more than 20 million Americans.
An estimated 220,512 Ohioans suffering from mental illness or drug abuse would lose access to mental health services if the ACA, also known as Obamacare, is repealed, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School and New York University. Of those, 151,257 were enrolled as part of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
Nearly half of opioid addiction treatment with the drug buprenorphine in Ohio is paid by Medicaid, according to the study.
Democrat U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown highlighted the report in a press call with reporters. Brown said repealing the law without a replacement would “pull the rug out” from people working on Ohio’s opioid abuse epidemic.
“Repealing the law would immediately interrupt treatment for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who are struggling with addiction and fighting for their lives,” Brown said.
Republican President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday called Obamacare a “complete and total disaster.” Trump said he’ll introduce his own plan to “repeal and replace” the law and the two will happen simultaneously.
“We’re going to be submitting, as soon as our secretary is approved — almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter — a plan,” Trump said during a Wednesday news conference.
Trump did not give details about how the plan would work.
A second study examined the effect of repealing the ACA on hospitals and the state budget.
Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based left-leaning think tank, found:
- 964,000 Ohioans would lose coverage by 2019.
- Ohio hospitals would lose $15 billion between 2018 and 2026.
- The state would lose $3.5 billion in federal Medicaid funding in 2019.
Cuyahoga County had more Medicaid expansion enrollees than any other county — 97,525 at a cost of $55.5 million.
Gov. John Kasich, speaking at a state behavioral health conference in Columbus, reiterated his support for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Since Ohio opted in, 700,000 Ohioans have been added to the Medicaid rolls.
“What I know is we’ve had additional resources in our state it’s really allowed people to have the ability to treat people who might not have been treated,” Kasich said.
Kasich, who plans to meet behind closed doors with Senate Republicans in Washington next week, said he’s open to changing federal health care policy.
“But you have to tell me what you are going to do about it, because you just can’t tell 700,000 people ‘you can’t get help,'” Kasich said.