Portman: "I Don't Think It's Appropriate Just to Repeal, We've Also Got to Put a Replacement In Place

July 18, 2017 | Press Releases

Portman Says Focus Should Remain on Finding Best ObamaCare Replacement Solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) made the following remarks about health care on a conference call with Ohio reporters today:

On health care, as you know, I’ve made my concerns very clear about the current health care system. I think the Affordable Care Act has not been good for Ohio. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed, typically for middle class families and for small businesses. This has been a huge problem. I had some constituents come in today and a guy and his wife told me about their premiums going up, and more importantly for them is that their deductible is so high it’s like they don’t have insurance, and they’re in one of those counties, you know, that’s having a tough time because insurers are leaving. So it’s not just that Ohio has suffered from a nearly doubling of our health care premium costs just in the last four years—82 percent increase in small businesses—but there’s also been a lot fewer choices. 

“We now have 19 counties in Ohio without a single insurer in the individual market. We have another 27 counties now with just one insurer. So it’s a real problem, and we need to lower the cost of coverage, and at the same time provide access to quality care and protect the most vulnerable, particularly because we expanded Medicaid. I’ve been very clear about that, I’ve expressed my concerns about the existing healthcare system, but also about the proposal that came out of the House, and the proposal that came out of the Senate initially. I don’t think they were responsive to what we have going on in Ohio, which is not just expansion of Medicaid, but an opioid epidemic and Medicaid is a significant payer for that. But I’ve rolled up my sleeves and I’ve worked to find common ground with my colleagues to try to come up with positive solutions that are in the best interest of Ohio and our country and I’m going to continue to do that.

“I have said consistently that I support repeal and replace, and I’m not giving up on doing both of those things. I don’t think it’s appropriate just to repeal, we’ve also got to put a replacement in place to help deal with the very issues I just talked about. Over the past year, as I’ve said, we’ve had a lot of destabilization of our insurance market in Ohio. That’s true around the country. Ohio has been hit harder than most states though, I will say. When the 2015 bill was passed we had at least two insurance companies providing insurance, writing insurance in every Ohio County. Most counties had multiple insurance companies. We’ve gone, by the way, during that period from 16 insurance companies in Ohio to about 10. And again, 19 counties now have no insurance company in the individual market and 27 only one insurer. And, so, there’s an urgency here for Ohio, and the best approach I think is to continue to work with my colleagues in the hopes that we can come together around a replacement plan that actually works to address these problems. These are real problems and we can’t ignore them.”

Portman’s statement on May 4 following House passage of the American Health Care Act can be found here.

Portman’s statement on June 22 following the release of the first Senate health care discussion draft can be found here.

Portman’s statement on June 27 opposing the first Senate health care draft can be found here.

Portman’s statement on July 3 following the release of the second Senate health care draft can be found here.