Bernie Sanders to host Columbus health care rally

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference outside his campaign headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) – Senator Bernie Sanders will headline an event in Columbus Sunday with the goal of saving the Affordable Care Act.

The event is happening June 25 at Express Live in downtown Columbus.

According to the event announcement, Senator Sanders hopes to put pressure on Senator Portman and other Republicans to vote against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Event doors open at 10am and the program begins at 11:30am.

Senate Republicans Thursday released a 142-page draft of their bill to eliminate much of the Obama health care law.

The measure would cut and revamp Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income and disabled people.

It would repeal tax increases Obama’s law imposed on higher-income people and medical industry companies to pay for expanded coverage. And it would end the tax penalty Obama’s statute imposes on people who don’t buy insurance – in effect, ending the so-called individual mandate.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate next week. But its fate remains uncertain.

It faces uniform Democratic opposition. And at least a half-dozen Republicans – both conservatives and moderates – have complained about it.

Four Republican senators say they are not ready to vote for the GOP health care bill, putting the measure in jeopardy.

The four are Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky. They say in a statement that they are open to negotiation before the full Senate considers the measure.

The four say there are provisions that are an improvement to the current health care system. But they add that the measure fails to accomplish what they have promised to their constituents, “to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”

Senator Portman released a statement Thursday afternoon after the release of the Senate draft of health care legislation.

“As I’ve said previously, the Affordable Care Act is not working for many Ohio families and small businesses.  My goal is to create a more workable system that lowers the cost of coverage, provides access to quality care, and protects the most vulnerable in our society.  There are some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.

“I look forward to examining this new proposal carefully and reviewing the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office when it is available.  If the final legislation is good for Ohio, I will support it.  If not, I will oppose it.  As this process moves forward, I will continue to work to protect Ohio’s interests and ensure that our health care system works better for all Ohioans.

 

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