Home Law Here’s how two Ohio Democrats say they’ll bring universal health care to the state

Here’s how two Ohio Democrats say they’ll bring universal health care to the state

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Ohio Statehouse Rotunda. Photo by Mike King via Flickr.

Two state representatives introduced a plan in the Ohio General Assembly to bring universal health care to Ohio. Here’s how that would work.

State Democrats proposed a bill last month that would create universal health care coverage for Ohioans.

State Representatives Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) introduced Senate Bill 91, or the Ohio Health Security Act, which would provide universal medical, dental and vision services.

“Let’s face it. We all need health care at some point in our lives, and we shouldn’t have to mortgage our future to get it,” Fedor said in a press release. “Under the Ohio Health Security Act, every eligible Ohioan will be free to choose the plan and doctors that work best for their families without breaking the bank.”

Rep. Teresa Fedor (D)
Rep. Teresa Fedor (D). Photo via Ohio House.

Senate Bill 91 would make full health care coverage available to everyoneincome, employment status or pre-existing conditions aside. Ohioans would be able to choose their health care providers without co-pays or deductibles for outpatient services, prescription drugs, medical supplies and medical transportation.

The plans will be administered by the Ohio Health Care Agency and operate under the Ohio Health Care Board.

Two elected representatives from seven regions in Ohio and the director of the Ohio Health Care Agency will make up the Ohio Health Care Board. The board will negotiate and set prices for health care services, establish standards for proof of residency, provide identification for participating individuals and provide legislation to allow payments to be made to the Ohio Health Care Agency.

Health care coverage under the Ohio Health Security Act would begin two years after the bill is passed.

Debbie Silverstein of the Single Payer Action Network of Ohio said the publicly funded system would be paid in

Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D). Photo via Ohio House.
Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D). Photo via Ohio House.

taxes. Critics of single-payer or universal systems have said they are costly and decrease the quality of care, availability and service.

“We are already paying through taxes about two-thirds of the health care cost in this nation,” Silverstein said in an interview with WCBE-FM. “The one third that we’re not paying for are generally healthy people between 18-64. So it’s not that much more to add those people in.”

The Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly is expected to oppose the Ohio Health Security Act.

Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent said Democrats are putting together a plan for the average Ohioan, while Congress is increasing costs and cutting benefits.

“While Congress continues to cut backroom deals and pass secret bills that will only work to increase costs and cut benefits for hardworking Ohioans, we’re putting together a concrete plan to make care affordable and flexible to work for you and your family,” Kennedy Kent said. “Taxpayers deserve a plan that gives them a real choice and the freedom to pick a plan that works for them.”

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