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Ryan and Portman Offer Different Fixes for Obamacare

President Obama signs the AFA

As the Republican plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act crumbles in the Senate, an Ohio Democratic congressman and Republican senator are talking about fixes for the program. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, they have different ideas on what those fixes should be.

Democrat Tim Ryan says he’d support an incremental step toward single-payer health insurance by expanding Medicare to allow people as young as 50 and small businesses to buy into the program. He calls Medicare a gold standard of coverage.

“It has very low overhead costs for healthcare compared to private insurance and why wouldn’t you let small businesses -- who are getting whacked by big premiums and high deductibles and its taking money out of investments they could be making back into their business to hire people – let them buy into the Medicare program.”

Republican Rob Portman says he’s studying the idea of tax credits and a Medicaid match for people who are older, but still under 65, to buy private insurance.

“They cannot get healthcare with their employer because perhaps they’re no longer working. They can’t afford healthcare in the individual markets. So they need this help and yet they will be in a private health care plan that actually might provide them better options.” 

Neither Portman nor Ryan expressed support for President Trump’s call to simply “Let Obamacare fail.”

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.