ACA Repeal Threatens 1M Ohioans, Report Finds

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Repealing the Affordable Care Act would jeopardize health care for nearly 1 million Ohioans, saddle Ohio’s hospitals with $15 billion in costs and drain $3.5 billion from the upcoming state budget, according to a report released today by Policy Matters Ohio.

As President-elect Donald Trump and leaders of the Republican-controlled Congress plan to scrap the ACA, Policy Matters outlined the law’s widely-felt benefits in Ohio during a news conference Wednesday.

In 2013, 11% of Ohioans lacked health insurance compared to 6.5% in 2015, the report stated. Nearly 700,000 Ohioans are covered under Medicaid expansion. An estimated 212,000 Ohioans are enrolled in marketplace coverage, most with subsidies defraying the cost. The subsidies have added a cumulative $535 million to Ohio families’ budgets.

“We’ve gained significantly from the ACA, though some may not realize it,” said the report’s author, Wendy Patton, Policy Matters’ senior project director. “People with pre-existing conditions can get a health plan in the individual market. Women don’t have to pay higher rates than men. Limits or caps on lifetime coverage are prohibited.”

Repealing the ACA also deals a blow to Ohio’s hospitals and health systems, which will be forced to provide more uncompensated care for the uninsured, the report finds. The American Hospital Association projects Ohio’s hospitals will lose $15 billion between 2018 and 2026.

“Hospitals are important economic drivers in Ohio,” said Tim Colburn, president and CEO of Berger Health System in Circleville. “In Pickaway County, like many rural counties, the local hospital is one of the largest employers. The ACA has strengthened Berger Health System by reducing the financial burden of providing care for the uninsured.”

The ACA has provided Ohio with a significant chunk of revenue. Without it, Ohio loses $3.5 billion in federal Medicaid funding in 2019. By 2028, those loses grow to $42.2 billion.

“Losing ACA will be painful and we must protect it,” Patton said. “There is no plan for a replacement. It’s a dangerous situation for Ohio.”

CLICK HERE to download the full report.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.