State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) today provided sponsor testimony for House Bill (HB) 440, known as the Ohio Health Security Act, to establish a single-payer health care plan in Ohio. Medical, dental, mental health and vision services will be covered under the bill and payments to health care providers for all eligible services will be made from a single fund called the Ohio Health Care Fund.
“It is time to focus on patients, not profits,” Fedor said. “Health is a human right. The Ohio Health Security Act provides security, freedom, choice, stability, and certainty. No more guessing games, no more living one slip and fall away from bankruptcy.”
Under the proposed plan, every Ohioan may receive full health care coverage, regardless of income or employment status, and may freely choose their own health care providers for services from outpatient services to prescription drugs, medical supplies and medical transportation without costly co-payments or deductibles. Additionally, there will be no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Coverage from the Ohio Health Care Plan will be available two years after the passage of this legislation.
“Patients are dying because they can’t afford America’s costly health care. No one should have to worry about a necessary medical procedure bankrupting them,” said Kennedy Kent. “The Ohio Health Security Act will ensure all Ohioans are covered, and covered equally. The bottom line is the majority of our constituents want this type of plan to move forward.”
Recent studies have shown substantial savings associated with single-payer systems, which work to establish market power, thereby cutting red-tape, reducing overhead costs and implementing cost controls, according to the Single Payer Action Network (SPAN).
The new health care plan will be administered by the Ohio Health Care Agency, which will operate under the direction of the Ohio Health Care Board. The board will consist of two elected representatives from seven regions across the state and the director of the Ohio Health Care Agency. The board will:
- Negotiate or set prices for health care services provided.
- Establish standards to demonstrate proof of residency.
- Provide each participating individual with identification that can be used by providers to establish eligibility for services.
- Seek all necessary waivers, exemptions, agreements, or legislation to allow various federal and state health care payments to be made to the Ohio Health Care Agency.
Similar versions of the bill have been introduced in previous general assemblies but have never received so much support, according to the two lawmakers. The AFL-CIO, the American Public Health Association, the National Farmers Union, and Republicans for Single Payer, in addition to dozens of other groups, have endorsed single-payer healthcare.
A full, detailed economic analysis on the potential impact of the Ohio Health Security Act is currently underway and set to be released in the coming months.
After today’s sponsor testimony, attended by many supporters of the bill, the Chairman of the Insurance Committee will schedule proponent testimony.