Local and federal officials are calling on Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Governor Mike DeWine to join them in taking a stance against the President of the United States.
This has to do with health care and the potential for millions to lose coverage for pre-existing conditions, among other elements, of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Susan Halpern is one of those who fears losing coverage and being unable to get covered now that she is a breast cancer survivor.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid-40s, Halpern saw her insurance premiums skyrocket year after year.
After she survived her bout with cancer, she couldn’t find another health insurer willing to sell her a plan — this was all before the ACA.
Stuck in a plan that was costing her an arm and a leg — or at the very least, her entire paycheck according to Halpern — she finally found financial relief when the ACA went into effect with its protections for people with pre-existing conditions and spending caps.
Recently, a ruling out of Texas has many concerned for the future of the entire plan, which has been under attack by the Trump administration since he came into office.
Unable to get the ACA dismantled legislatively despite having the backing of both chambers of a Republican-controlled Congress, Trump has intentionally sabotaged the ACA at every turn, according to the city attorney for Columbus, Zach Klein.
Last fall, the city filed a lawsuit against the president, trying to force him to defend the ACA in court like he is constitutionally required to do with any law passed by Congress, according to Klein.
On Monday, U.S. Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown joined Klein in asking for more than lip service from two of the state’s top leaders — Yost and DeWine.
Brown and Klein say simply stating they support protecting pre-existing conditions is not enough — they want to see action.
“There’s so much at stake, that it’s easy to send a tweet or to institute executive action and not think about the real-world consequences that trickle down into communities in Columbus,” Klein said.
Yost, for his part, filed a brief after the Texas ruling was handed down, urging a higher court overturn the ruling.
While Yost argues that parts of the ACA are unconstitutional, he says they can be dealt with individually, leaving the protections many Americans — if not Ohioans — enjoy.
His office was unable to comment on whether he has any interest in joining the City of Columbus in its lawsuit against the president.
Likewise, DeWine’s office released a statement regarding the protections of the ACA:
“Governor DeWine supports preexisting condition protections, including those in current law. In the hypothetical scenario where such protections were struck down by the courts, there are older laws still on the books that would provide preexisting condition protections to many Ohioans. Governor DeWine has pledged to work with the general assembly to pursue legislation establishing new state protections if there are protection gaps in these older laws under these hypothetical scenarios.”
Again, there was no written comment on the request to join the City of Columbus’ lawsuit, though a spokesman did say joining lawsuits was the purview of the State Attorney General.
Meanwhile, Halpern continues to wait and see what happens with the ACA and her health insurance, dreading going back to what it was like before the program provided her with financial relief.
“Even with the health insurance that I had, I still spent more than $30,000 to get my breast cancer treated,” she said.
She says without access to affordable health care, she may have to miss crucial check-ups due to financial constraints, which could end up costing her life.