Delivering Results for Ohio
Senator Portman has fought for all Ohioans and continued to deliver results for them. He helped lead the effort to reform the broken tax code to create more jobs and boost wages. He has led the effort to combat America’s drug epidemic. He has led the effort to help stop online sex trafficking. He has consistently stood up for American global leadership and Ohio’s servicemembers, and much, much more. Senator Portman will continue to deliver results for Ohio in the second half of the 116th Congress.
Fighting for Better, More Affordable Health Care
Senator Portman continued to fight for a better health care system that lowers the cost of coverage, provides access to quality care, and protects the most vulnerable in our society. Health care costs are still too high, and as a result, Ohio families and small businesses continue to see their premiums and deductibles increase.
Ensuring Affordable Coverage for Americans with Pre-Existing Condition
In April, Portman joined Senate Republicans in introducing the Protect Act, legislation that protects Americans with pre-existing conditions and ensures that they will never be denied health care coverage or be charged more because of a pre-existing condition. The Protect Act amends the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to (1) guarantee the availability of health insurance coverage in the individual or group market, regardless of pre-existing conditions; (2) prohibit discrimination against patients based on health status – including prohibiting increased premiums for patients due to pre-existing conditions; and (3) prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage of treatments for a beneficiary’s pre-existing condition.
Creating Competition in the Prescription Drug Marketplace
In March 2019, Portman joined his Senate colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Biologic Patent Transparency Act in an effort to encourage competition in the prescription drug marketplace and put an end to the harmful patent strategies that block new drugs from coming to market. The Biologic Patent Transparency Act would require companies to publicly disclose the web of patents that protect their biologics, making it easier for competitors to evaluate and plan for the development of generic versions of these drugs. It would also discourage late-filed patents and require the FDA to regularly publish information in its “Purple Book” on approved biologics, such as patents, exclusivity, and biosimilarity.
Cracking Down on High Prescription Drug Prices
In July 2019, Portman joined members of both parties on the Senate Finance Committee in approving the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, bipartisan legislation to crack down on high prescription drug prices. During the committee’s markup, Portman delivered opening remarks outlining his support for the bill.
Easing the Burden of High Medical Expenses
Portman has continuously taken the lead on easing the burden of high medical costs for senior citizens. His Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act, which was included in the 2017 tax reform legislation, allows seniors to deduct a greater share of their medical costs. The FY2020 final funding bill included legislation to extend this provision for 2 years. Under the final bill, all taxpayers at any age may take advantage of this expanded deduction.
Helping Retirees Keep Their Health Coverage
Portman introduced bipartisan legislation in August 2019 that will extend for five years the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) for retirees who lost their health care coverage — in addition to their pensions and other benefits — when their employers either entered into bankruptcy or laid-off workers due to foreign trade. The HCTC is critically important for many hardworking Ohioans, including as many as 5,000 Delphi salaried retirees in Dayton, the Mahoning Valley, and Sandusky. The HCTC, which is set to expire on January 1, 2020, helps to reduce the cost of maintaining health insurance coverage for a number of individuals that are either receiving TAA benefits or are between the ages of 55-64 years old whose pensions were terminated and are being administered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. This legislation was included in the final FY 2020 funding bill and signed into law on December 20, 2019.
Extending the Money Follows the Person Program
In April 2019, President Trump signed into law a six-month extension for the Money Follows the Person Program, which helps transition Medicaid beneficiaries from nursing homes to long-term care in their homes while saving taxpayer money in the process. Portman called for an extension of this program in his bipartisan Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care Act – or EMPOWER Care Act. A five-month extension was included in the final FY 2020 funding bill signed into law on December 20, 2019.
Ensuring Children Get the Medical Care They Need
In April 2019, the Senate passed Senator Portman’s ACE Kids Act to improve health outcomes and care coordination for children with complex medical conditions on Medicaid. This legislation will make it possible for healthcare providers to coordinate care, lower costs, and improve quality outcomes for children with complex medical conditions on Medicaid who require specialized care. President Trump signed the legislation into law on April 19, 2019.
Combating Infant Mortality
In October 2018, Portman sent a letter to Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. in support of Ohio receiving more than $5 million to fund Healthy Start Programs across Ohio. In March 2019, Ohio received the funding which will provide resources to help reduce the state’s overall infant mortality rate while addressing many of the social determinants of health that adversely affect the women and children of Ohio. Lucas County was awarded $1.1 million, Five Rivers Health Centers in Dayton received $1.1 million, Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati $1.07 million, the City of Cleveland received $950,000, and the City of Columbus received $1.1 million.
Expanding Bed Counts in Order to Treat More Children
In November 2019, Portman announced that he secured a change in the final Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System rule, which will allow for University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland to expand their bed count. Portman pressed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that, given the limited use of Medicare in children’s hospitals, the Medicare HwH rule was arcane and was holding UH Rainbow back from serving the community. CMS agreed and finalized a rule to lift the HwH rules for children’s hospitals. As a result, UH Rainbow can expand and add additional wards and units to support the growing demand for pediatric care in Cleveland.
Addressing Lack of Transparency in Hospice Care
In November 2019, Portman introduced the Hospice Care Improvement Act – to address the lack of safety protocols and transparency in hospices across the country. Following the release of reports (found here and here) in July from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) highlighting specific instances of patient harm in hospices and a lack of transparency to highlight potential patient abuses and facility deficiencies, this legislation would act on recommendations from HHS, patients, and industry experts to ensure patient safety.
Streamlining ACA Employer Reporting Requirements
The Commonsense Reporting Act that Senator Portman introduced in August 2019 will streamline and modernize ACA reporting requirements, ensuring that the Treasury Department has the necessary data to determine availability of affordable coverage, while cutting down on unnecessary paperwork and administrative costs for businesses.
Helping All Ohioans Reach Their God-Given Potential
This Congress, Portman continued his work to ensure that all Ohioans can succeed in life by removing barriers that would have impeded Habitat for Humanity’s work to provide affordable housing to low-income families and help those with a criminal record from becoming productive members of society.
Renewing the Second Chance Act
In December 2018, the president signed into law Portman’s bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the Second Chance Act, a law that supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism. Then-Congressman Portman originally authored the Second Chance Act with the late-Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and it was signed into law in 2008. Since 2009, more than 850 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles. As of June 2018, more than 164,000 individuals have participated in these programs. In total, Ohio has received more than $39 million in Second Chance Act grants since 2009, which assist Ohioans re-entering the community with services such as job training, drug rehabilitation, case management and mental health treatment.
- In April 2019, the Senate passed Portman’s resolution to designate April as “Second Chance Month” and honor those who work to remove unnecessary barriers that prevent those with a criminal record from becoming productive members of society. Portman is the author of the Second Chance Act, legislation designed to help break the cycle of recidivism through drug treatment and job training, which makes our community safer, saves taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, helps former inmates fulfill their God-given potential.
Supporting Habitat for Humanity
Having volunteered and participated in dozens of builds for more than 20 years, Portman is a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity, which helps provide affordable housing to low-income families. In August 2017, following his successful “Buckeye Build” in 2016, Portman returned to Cleveland to participate in another build and volunteered again on his birthday in December 2019. Portman is also using his platform as a U.S. Senator to help Habitat assist families throughout Ohio and the country. Portman’s Housing Opportunities Made Easier (HOME) Act, legislation designed to ensure that Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other organizations can receive donated appraisals on the homes they build, was signed into law on May 24, 2018. In November 2019, Portman was named an honoree by Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. at its 30th anniversary gala.
Stopping Preventable Evictions
Portman and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) teamed up to introduce the Eviction Crisis Act to address the national housing crisis crippling millions of Americans who are struggling to rise into the middle class. The bipartisan legislation will shed light on the root causes of the eviction crisis, reduce preventable evictions, and limit the devastation to families when eviction is unavoidable. Stable housing is a vital part of getting people back on their feet. This legislation will help prevent avoidable evictions, reduce homelessness, and make it easier for people to escape poverty by keeping a roof over their heads.
Helping Families Engage With Incarcerated Family Members
Portman joined bipartisan colleagues in June 2019 to introduce the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act. This bipartisan bill would help families keep in touch with their incarcerated family members, which studies have shown can help reduce recidivism rates and thereby save taxpayer dollars. This targeted legislation would address long-standing concerns about the prohibitively expensive and predatory price of phone calls that incarcerated individuals at correctional facilities across the U.S. are forced to pay if they want to contact their family or friends.
Other Portman Accomplishments
In addition to helping lead efforts to create more jobs and opportunity, strengthen retirement security, close the skills gap, combat addiction, end human and sex trafficking, bolster the national defense, and protect our environment, Portman has also been a leader on other issues. Here is a look at some of his other accomplishments over the past year:
Confirming Judges Who Will Affirm the Constitution
Since 2016, Portman has been proud to support the confirmation of 187 Article III judges, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, 50 judges for the United States Courts of Appeals, 133 judges for the United States District Courts and two International Trade Court judges.
Helping Ohio Constituents
In 2019, Senator Portman and his casework team opened 3,133 cases (as of 12/31/19) to help Ohioans in need. 2,381, or 91.2 percent, of those cases were closed favorably. Throughout his time in the Senate, Portman and his team have opened a total of26,680 cases and have closed 22,072, or 82.72 percent, of those cases favorably.