In Ohio, Obamacare Replacement Plan Draws Both Liberal and Conservative Skeptics

Mar 7, 2017

Ohio activists on both sides of the political aisle are reacting to Congressional Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a conversation Tuesday on All Sides With Ann Fisher, both Ohio Tea Partiers and advocates for universal health care said the proposed ACA replacement has its flaws.

Portage County Tea Party director Tom Zawistowski loves that the plan kills the coverage mandate.

“We are glad that the individual mandates have been removed," Zawistowski says. "We are glad that the penalties are gone. Because, quite simply, we believe in free markets.”

Zawistawski said what he doesn't like that is that the plan would replace subsidies for low-income people with tax credits that can be paid in advance. That's just "subsidies by another name," he says.

The bill would offer tax credits, refundable in advance, to people with incomes below $75,000. In many cases, those tax credits will be lower than current ACA subsidies.

Steve Wagner from the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio says states currently receive a defined amount from the federal government for their Medicaid programs. He’s worried the new proposal would move to “something that is susceptible to every budget cycle that Congress has.”

Wagner says changing Medicaid funding rates would likely increase the so-called Medicaid "churn effect," where people fall in and out of eligibility.

“Individuals who have low income, working class people, are going to lose coverage. I think older adults are likely not to be able to have their coverage, as well,” Wagner said.

In states that expanded Medicaid, people who are eligible can continue to enroll until Jan. 1, 2020, and those states would continue to benefit from the federal government paying a greater share of the health costs of those beneficiaries. Federal funding would start to decrease in 2020.