During a rally in Mt. Vernon, Ohio on Wednesday, Mitt Romney touted the benefits of Medicaid and claimed that all Americans will be able to obtain health care insurance without President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Responding to a question from a woman whose son suffers from Spina Bifida, Romney disparaged Obama’s health care measure — which would expand access to 30 million Americans — and claimed that the law is unnecessary for people suffering from chronic conditions:
ROMNEY: Actually, we had health care in America before Obamacare came along. And we still have health care in America…Each of us today in America has a choice of the type of health care plan we might choose. People who are poor are able to get Medicaid, which is a government support effort for those who can’t afford to have insurance. And these things aren’t going to disappear without Obamacare.
Advocates of expanding services for people with chronic or life-threatening conditions disagree with Romney’s assessment, however, noting that the law’s new consumer protections and Medicaid expansion would benefit the sickest Americans. “We believe that although the Affordable Care Act is not perfect and is certain to evolve over time, it is already improving and will continue to improve the lives of people with chronic conditions,” the National Health Council said in a statement that was signed by 30 health groups. Cindy Brownstein, President & CEO of the Spina Bifida Association, was among the signatories.
Romney and Ryan would repeal the Affordable Care Act and significantly reduce federal funding to Medicaid, which assists millions of American families with members suffering from mental and physical disabilities. Half of the program’s 63 million enrollees are children, and rural children are particularly at risk. Romney and Ryan would shift Medicaid’s costs to state budgets, leaving them to shoulder any added demands on the program alone. In order to meet his other budget priorities, Romney would have to cut Medicaid by as much as “32 percent in 2016 and 53 percent in 2022.” Some 44 million Americans could lose coverage as a result.