WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement after voting to begin debate on health care reform today:

“As I’ve said many times during this debate, my goal is to create a more workable health care system that lowers the cost of coverage and provides access to quality care, while protecting the most vulnerable in our society. The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, isn’t working for Ohio. Over the past several years, because of ObamaCare, families and small businesses have seen their insurance costs skyrocket as choices have shrunk. We now have 19 counties in Ohio without any insurers in the exchanges, and 27 counties with just one insurer. With more and more Ohioans facing higher costs and limited options, I am committed to repealing and replacing this law with better solutions. But as ObamaCare is replaced, it must be done in a way that gives all Ohioans access to affordable health care.

“The most recent version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) is an improvement over the first Senate bill. The measure includes reforms that will help lower premiums on families and small businesses and provide $45 billion in new resources for states to address the opioid epidemic and give recovering addicts an opportunity to access treatment as they work to get back on their feet. I continue to have concerns, however, about the Medicaid policies in the bill, and that’s why I’ve been working to ensure that those on traditional Medicaid will have access to care and those on expanded Medicaid continue to have good health care options under a new system, including affordable health care options on the private market.

“Over the last week, I’ve continued to have good conversations with the president, the vice president, administration officials and my colleagues about ways to improve this bill further, including a plan to help those on Medicaid expansion and other low-income Americans get access to affordable health care on the private market. I am pleased that I have received a commitment that the Senate will vote on this plan as a central part of this process.”

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