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Protestors Urge Portman To "Do The Right Thing" And Reject GOP Health Care Bill

Adora Namigadde
Protesters gathered outside the Ohio Union, where Senator Rob Portman gave a speech, to rally against the GOP health care bill.

Protestors urged Senator Rob Portman on Monday afternoon to vote against the American Health Care Act, the Republican health care bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a slim victory last Thursday. It's now being reworked in the Senate.

“Hey Rob Portman, do the right thing!" chanted a group of protesters at the Ohio Union. "Hey Rob Portman, do the right thing!”

To the protestors, "the right thing" means not accepting the House of Representatives version of the Republican health care plan.

Portman was on the Ohio State campus to give welcoming remarks at the Armstrong Space Symposium.

Dominic Mendiola works for the For Our Future Fund, which organized the protest.

“(Portman) said that he’s, you know, against trying to make cuts to Medicaid and making sure that, you know, people have access, and it’s time for him to step up and really do it,” Mendiola said.

The bill proposes an $800 billion cut to national Medicaid funding over the next five years, which would likely force Ohio to phase out its expanded coverage. That would also affect Ohio's efforts at combating the opioid crisis with addiction treatment.


Credit Adora Namigadde
Senator Portman has so far been cold on the GOP health care plan, which passed the House and is being reworked in the Senate.

In addition, if the House plan became law, it would allow states to deny coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions, and allow states to eliminate so-called essential health benefits for services such as prescription drugs, maternity care and mental-health treatment.

Portman so far has been cold on the House bill. 

"I continue to have concerns this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio's Medicaid expansion population," Portman said in a statement Thursday, after the bill passed the House.

The bill's future in the Senate is uncertain.

Ohio's other senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, has expressed strong disapproval for the bill.

“This bill is heartless, it is bad for Ohio, and it will leave real Ohioans struggling to afford care," Brown said in a tweet of his own on Thursday.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.