Brown: Medicaid Block Grant Funding Bad for Ohioans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement after the Trump Administration announced plans to encourage states to request block grant funding for people covered by Medicaid. Block grant funding would limit resources available to Ohioans and reverse the progress Medicaid expansion has brought to improving Ohioans’ healthcare. The President promised not to cut earned benefits, including Medicaid, and this plan would break that promise.

“We know Medicaid expansion has saved lives – I was proud to work with Gov. Kasich, a Republican, to expand Medicaid in Ohio – and the President’s proposal would threaten the progress our state has made,” said Brown. “Block granting Medicaid is short sighted and would limit Ohio’s ability to combat public health crises like addiction and maternal mortality. The President and Republicans in Congress continue to pursue policies that undermine Ohioans’ healthcare and put health coverage at risk. We should be working to expand healthcare and health resources for Ohio families, not restrict them.”

More than 200,000 Ohioans were enrolled in ACA marketplace insurance in 2019. More than 600,000 Ohioans have healthcare coverage because of Medicaid expansion.

If the President is successful in implementing his block grant funding plan, states like Ohio will be limited in the amount of funding they receive from the federal government to cover healthcare expenses covered by Medicaid expansion. Efforts to attack the Affordable Care Act and threaten coverage for Ohioans has already resulted in an increase in the uninsured rate for Ohioans, including an increase in the number of uninsured Ohio children.

An August 2019 study published by the Urban Institute found that states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including Ohio, have seen significantly better access to addiction treatment than states that chose not to expand the program.

The New York Times reported on this study, and explained in its piece that an anti-craving medication used to help treat opioid use disorder, called buprenorphine, was easier to access in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, like Ohio. This provides further evidence that the ACA is playing an important role in addressing the addiction crisis.

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