Obamacare repeal must be done carefully

As the Republican-controlled House and Senate and President Trump work to repeal Obamacare, it is vital that our leaders in Washington, D.C., consider how their decisions will impact their constituents back home in places like Fulton County. While I fully support their efforts to repeal this destructive law, I’m also concerned about the potential negative impacts to our health care system if Congress repeals Obamacare without restoring Medicare and Medicaid hospital funding.

When Obamacare was implemented, the administration took huge sums of money that would have gone to Medicare and Medicaid. These funds were used to help provide coverage for younger people under the A.C.A.. Now, when Obamacare is repealed, Ohio hospitals may have to contend with roughly $11 billion in cuts between 2018 and 2026 – nationally, hospitals face a mind-boggling $400 billion in Medicare cuts during the same years.

If Congress doesn’t install a proper replacement that restores these Medicare cuts at the time of repeal, it could create significant instability at all levels of our health care system, hurting patients and our communities as a whole. It will also hurt the economy and kill jobs. As many as 126,000 Ohioans could lose their jobs in just one year (2019) if Congress doesn’t restore hospital funding, while Ohio’s Gross State Product will plummet, losing about $70 billion between 2019 and 2023.

Our Republican elected officials in Congress do an outstanding job looking out for rural communities like Fulton County. While we all want Obamacare to be repealed, we must make sure the repeal and replacement of Obamacare restores Medicare and Medicaid cuts at the time of repeal, not while the law’s replacement is crafted.

John F. Weber