Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
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Sherrod Brown argues against Republican health care plan in Toledo visit

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) visited a Toledo assisted living facility Monday morning to speak against Senate Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

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The event also featured testimony from people whose parents rely on Medicaid to pay their assisted living expenses. Standing before a crowd of more than 50 nursing home workers and residents at Genacross Lutheran Services Care Center, Brown highlighted the ways in which the bill’s changes and cuts to Medicaid could negatively affect health coverage for the elderly.

“Ohioans pay their taxes, they pay into social security, they pay into Medicare,” Mr. Brown said. “We betray them if we do these Medicaid cuts and threaten the care that we are providing to them.”

Senate bill would put Medicaid on a fixed budget, ending its status as an open-ended entitlement. With the federal government tightening its fiscal belt, states will be forced to make cuts.

RELATED: CBO delays score on health bill | McConnell reveals new bill

More than 60 percent of state and federal Medicaid spending goes to the elderly and disabled. In Ohio, Medicaid covers 60 percent of nursing home residents according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“That’s really the base of Medicaid — it’s our elderly, it’s our disabled, and it’s kids,” said Rick Marshall, the President and CEO of Genacross Lutheran Services. “It’s our most vulnerable citizens, and if we cut the services… their needs are not going to go away. If cuts happen, states will be forced to reduce services in the future.”

Sens. Rand Paul (R., Kentucky) and Susan Collins (R., Maine) have already said they will oppose even allowing debate on the Senate health care bill. With Senate Democrats and Independents unanimously against the measure, one more Republican defection would mean its defeat.

Mr. Brown concluded his remarks by urging the audience to call, email, and write their senators and representatives in an effort to block the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Kentucky) announced he would delay the vote until Sen. John McCain returns from his home in Arizona, where he is recovering this week from surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye.

Contact Jacob Stern at: jstern@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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