Medina County’s congressional representatives voted Thursday in favor of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Both Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, of the 16th District, and Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, of the 7th District, said in prepared statements that their vote had been a priority since their election to the House in November 2010. Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the ACA in March 2010.
They were among 217 in favor of repeal while 213 were opposed.
“Yesterday,” Renacci said on his Facebook page Friday, “I took the first step in fulfilling a promise I made to the 16th District and was elected on: repealing and replacing Obamacare with a more patient-centered, affordable and flexible health care system.
“Ohioans are suffering under Obamacare,” the statement continued. “Premiums have risen over 90 percent since 2013, deductibles are skyrocketing and insurers are running for the door in the exchanges.”
Renacci’s statement continued: “Please understand that there is a lot of misinformation out there and the (Affordable Health Care Act) does not allow insurers to discriminate against people because of their gender and pre-existing conditions, and no one can be denied coverage.
“The bill is now in the Senate’s hands, where it will undergo more changes before it’s passed into law.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the other chamber on producing the strongest legislation possible to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all Americans.”
Gibbs used the word “relief” in his statement explaining his vote.
“Since I first got to Congress, one of my top priorities has been to get rid of Obamacare. Today (Thursday), I voted to provide relief to the millions of Americans impacted by Obamacare’s individual mandate, its taxes and penalties, and the regulations that have driven up insurance costs for so many Americans.”
He described the Affordable Care Act as “collapsing” and said people are “suffering because of it.”
His statement continued: “We cannot afford the status quo with premiums set to skyrocket again next year and insurance companies continuing to pull out of exchanges, leaving Americans with fewer options.”
Gibbs said the replacement plan will lower costs, increase choices and eliminate the individual mandate.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, said in a statement: “I agree with Gov. (John) Kasich: We cannot allow Washington politicians with taxpayer-funded health insurance to rip coverage away from Ohioans who are battling cancer, getting regular checkups for the first time or finally getting treatment for their opioid addiction.”
Brown said he believed the action “threatens” coverage for “nearly 1 million Ohioans, including 200,000 currently battling addiction … ”
He said private companies would “jack up” prices for people with conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
Brown termed the Republican-backed bill “heartless” and said it was “bad for Ohio.”
Ohio’s other senator, Rob Portman of Cincinnati, said in a statement the existing ACA program is “unsustainable.”
He said in more than one-third of Ohio’s 88 counties, “There’s only one insurance company,” causing fewer choices for medical care and higher costs.
His statement added: “I’ve already made clear that I don’t support the House bill as currently constructed because I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population, especially those who are receiving treatment for heroin and prescription drug abuse. We have an opioid crisis in this country, and I’m going to continue to work with my colleagues on solutions that ensure that those who are impacted by this epidemic can continue to receive treatment.”