Portman Has ‘Real Concerns’ About Medicaid Cuts, May Still Vote For Bill

Chairman Rob Portman of Ohio, listens during a hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to review billing and customer service practices in the cable and satellite television industry, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 23, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) criticized the Senate GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill Thursday, saying he was concerned about its “Medicaid policies.”

“I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic,” he wrote in a statement.

In addition to winding down Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, Senate Republicans’ bill would cap federal Medicaid reimbursements to the states starting in 2020 on a per capita basis. It would also slow the rate of increase in Medicaid spending to below the rate of increase in health care costs, providing a relatively smaller and smaller amount of federal funds to the states over time.

Portman said he looked “forward to examining this new proposal carefully and reviewing the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office when it is available.”

Earlier Thursday, the CBO said it aimed to publish an analysis of the Senate GOP proposal by “early next week.”

Read Portman’s full statement below:

“As I’ve said previously, the Affordable Care Act is not working for many Ohio families and small businesses.  My goal is to create a more workable system that lowers the cost of coverage, provides access to quality care, and protects the most vulnerable in our society.  There are some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.

“I look forward to examining this new proposal carefully and reviewing the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office when it is available.  If the final legislation is good for Ohio, I will support it.  If not, I will oppose it.  As this process moves forward, I will continue to work to protect Ohio’s interests and ensure that our health care system works better for all Ohioans.”

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