Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Pre-Existing Protection Act As Open Enrollment Begins
Introduction of bill, open enrollment occur at a time when the ACA is in jeopardy
November 01, 2019
 
 

Today, State Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) & State Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna), along with several Republican cosponsors, filed their bill to protect patients with pre-existing conditions on the day open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins.


The bipartisan Pre-Existing Protection Act would codify existing protections from the ACA into Ohio law, including: coverage for those with pre-existing conditions; limits on insurance premiums; ban on annual and lifetime limits; and coverage of essential health benefits, like preventative and maternal healthcare.


“Hopefully the bipartisan list of this bill’s sponsors proves that the issue of protecting those with pre-existing conditions should never be political. This is an issue of decency and humanity that we believe should be extended to each and every American; and the need to codify these protections has never been more important than it is today,” said. Rep. Crossman. “Rep. Clites and I chose to file our bill in concert with the beginning of open enrollment to reinforce the importance of maintaining protections for persons with pre-existing conditions. We now have a chance to take action to prevent the loss of these important protections here in Ohio and ensure Ohioans will be able to secure affordable health care coverage should the ongoing efforts to repeal or invalidate the Affordable Care Act succeed.”


The introduction of this legislation and 2020 open enrollment occur at a time when the future of the Affordable Care Act is in jeopardy. A decision is expected any day now in the case Texas v. U.S. in which 18 states are seeking to invalidate the ACA and its mandated coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions. A decision invalidating the ACA would jeopardize healthcare for nearly 2 million Ohioans, according to a recently published study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.


“We can’t sit back and let families live in uncertainty of whether or not the court will protect their access to health coverage. Ohioans deserve access to affordable health care that gives them the coverage they need regardless of a pre-existing condition. We are determined to move this bill forward and thank our many co-sponsors on this bill for their support,” said Rep. Clites.


Open enrollment for health care insurance coverage begins today and ends on December 15, 2019, for coverage starting January 1, 2020. Visit healthcare.gov to learn more.  

 
 
  
 
Legislators Introduce Diabetes Awareness Bill Package
Bills include Insulin Affordability Act to cap drug prices
October 31, 2019
 
 

Today, State Sen. Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) and state Rep. Dr. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) announced a package of bills to address insulin pricing and increase awareness of diabetes prevention tools.

“Families are struggling with the cost of insulin and young people are dying. Medically, we can prevent this,” said Liston. “We need policies that make it possible.”

The bicameral package of legislation includes:



  • The Insulin Affordability Act to cap the price of insulin provided by health plans at no more than $100 for a 30-day supply (sponsored by Sens. Craig and Nickie J. Antonio, D-Lakewood, and Reps. Liston and Kristin Boggs, D-Columbus)

  • Requiring the Ohio Attorney General to analyze and provide recommendations about insulin pricing practices based on information from drug manufacturers, health plan issuers, pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies (sponsored by Sens. Craig and Antonio and Rep. Liston)

  • Designating April 26 as “Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Day” (sponsored by Sens. Craig and Antonio and Rep. Liston) 

  • “Screen at 23,” a resolution encouraging Asian Americans to be screened at a BMI of 23 kg/m2 as opposed to the current practice of 25 kg/m2 (sponsored by Sens. Craig and Antonio and Reps. Liston and J. Todd Smith, R-Farmersville)


“The skyrocketing cost of insulin has made it difficult for many Ohioans to afford treatment and stay healthy,” said Craig. “Every day there are diabetics who are forced to choose between life-saving medication and feeding their families or paying their bills. By making insulin more affordable, we can save lives.”

Insulin prices nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016, and approximately 30% of diabetics have rationed the life-saving medication due to cost. This poses significant public health risks and economic concerns to Ohioans. Ohio has a higher incidence of diabetes than other states and one in four diabetics in Ohio are considered to be in poor control of their disease.

“The cost of insulin is unacceptable and out of reach for many Ohioans. We do not want to see another tragic story of a young person with their life and future taken away because their only option is to ration their insulin,” said Antonio. “As legislators, we must institute policies that ensure the well-being of all Ohioans living with diabetes, and I believe we can be successful with this legislative package.”

Kathryn Poe, who stood with lawmakers as they announced the legislative package, temporarily became a Type 1 diabetic because of a bone marrow transplant in July 2018.

“I put the Insulin in my fridge and simply forgot about it until a couple of days later, when I came across an article about a 26-year-old young man in Minnesota who had died from rationing insulin,” said Poe, a grassroots organizer for #Insulin4AllOH. “I realized that the very same drug that he couldn't afford was sitting downstairs in my fridge, a whole month’s supply never to be used. I was horrified.”

Antroinette Worsham has also been instrumental in advocating for affordable insulin. Her oldest daughter, Antavia, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 16 and passed away in 2017 from diabetic ketoacidosis.

“She started rationing her insulin in 2016 when she aged off Bureau for Children of Medical Handicaps,” said Worsham. “Still, with my employer-covered plan with the high deductible and copays, insulin was still too expensive. My son, her brother, found her deceased in her bed. My son was 17 years old at the time. How detrimental is that to happen to any family?”

Gary Dougherty, Director of State Government Affairs with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), said the ADA worked on the recently passed Colorado co-pay cap law and is committed to supporting the Insulin Affordability Act.   
 
“Right here in Ohio, more than 4.3 million Ohioans have or are at risk for diabetes,” said Dougherty. “For those who require insulin to live, the cost has spiraled out of control and, for many, is beyond their reach.”

For video of the press conference, click here

 
 
  
 
Democratic Women Lawmakers Call For Action On Bills To Combat Domestic Violence
Say proposals ensure more safety, security for victims and their families
October 30, 2019
 
 

The Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus (ODWLC) today called for hearings on several anti-domestic violence bills they say will protect victims and ensure safer homes for thousands of children and families across Ohio.


“Part of the Ohio Promise is to make sure that all Ohioans are able to live safely and securely.  In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Women’s Caucus is uniting to fight for our sisters and put an end to domestic violence,” said ODWLC Chair Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron).


October marks National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a month-long effort to connect people with critical resources to break the cycle of domestic violence.


“House Bill 351 and the other bills introduced by my colleagues are a clear indication Ohio needs to be better at combating domestic violence,” said Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo). “The Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus is leading the way by standing up for victims of domestic violence in a variety of ways.”


“After an arrest or protection order is issued, victims should not face hurdles that make it difficult for them to put a distance between themselves and their abusers,” added Rep. Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown). “What they do need is an exit strategy and assurance that they will be safe. HB351 gives them an opportunity for a fresh start at a new address away from the person who is threatening or hurting them.”


Dem lawmakers highlighted several bills to protect victims of domestic violence and their families, including:



  • House Bill (HB) 351, which would allow victims to terminate lease agreements and find safer housing after obtaining a protection order.

  • BOGGS BILL, which would allow those seeking protection orders be excused from work, adding an additional layer of safety and security for victims of domestic violence.

  • Senate Bill (SB) 43, a bipartisan bill to prohibit a person subject to a protection order or convicted of domestic violence from having a firearm.

  • SB 146, a bipartisan bill to add strangulation to Ohio’s definition of domestic violence.


“No one should have to choose between protecting themselves and their families and their job, or their housing, or other basic necessities. The legislation being championed by the women’s caucus is an important step to creating a safer and more secure future for victims of domestic violence across the state of Ohio,” said House Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus).  


According to Ohio’s Attorney General, there were more than 64,000 reported domestic violence incidents in Ohio in 2018. Across the country, one-in-three women and one-in-four men experience some form of domestic violence each year.


“I am pleased to be a part of this collaborative effort by members of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus, which includes multiple pieces of important, commonsense legislation to prevent and combat domestic violence,” said Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Senate Bills 43 and 146 will make a positive change and impact the lives of domestic violence survivors.”

 
 
  

The Ohio House Transportation Committee today recommended the passage of Ohio House Bill 106, which would provide more training and experience to all young drivers in the state.


The committee’s Ranking Member, Representative Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon), and Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) sponsored the bipartisan bill.


“We live in an age full of distractions and new dangers, and a rapidly changing transportation system,” said Sheehy. “Ohio has certainly seen an uptick of injuries and deaths related to teen drivers, and this legislation will make sure that our drivers are fully prepared for the dangers of modern roadways.”


Under the bill, the driving age would increase to 16 1/2 and increase the minimum length of a teen’s temporary instruction permit from six months to 12 months. Additionally, teens with a probationary license would be unable to drive without a parent after 10 p.m., instead of midnight as in current law, with exceptions for work, school, and religious functions.

 
 
  
 
Leader Sykes Statement On $105 Million State Investment In Public Transit
Says Democrats played key role in historic funding for Ohio communities
October 29, 2019
 
 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement today following the announcement of nearly $105 million in funds for public transportation agencies across the state to improve operations and mobility throughout Ohio.


“I’m proud of the work Democrats did to ensure this historic investment in public transportation in our state. We cannot live up to Ohio’s promise of better lives, better jobs and brighter futures if everyday Ohioans don’t have the means to get there. With this funding, our state will be able to grow and build more opportunity for working people and families to share the road ahead toward a brighter future and greater opportunity for all.”


Leader Sykes also announced more than $2 million in state funds to the METRO RTA, which serves communities in Akron and Summit County.

 
 
  

The Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus (ODWLC) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, October 30, at 9:30 a.m. in the Ohio Statehouse Ladies Gallery to urge action on anti-domestic violence legislation, which they say is being held up in the Republican-controlled, male-dominated state legislature. The ODWLC call to action comes amid Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


WHO: ODWLC Chair Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron), Vice Chair Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo), Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), Mary O’Doherty, Ohio Domestic Violence Network Executive Director


WHAT: Press conference to urge action on anti-domestic violence legislation


WHEN: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.


WHERE: Statehouse Ladies Gallery, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215


 


 

 
 
  
 
Dem Lawmakers Announce Legislation To Protect Healthcare Coverage Of Ohioans With Pre-existing Conditions
Announcement comes amid uncertainty as court decision on Affordable Care Act looms
October 23, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Jeff Crossman (D- Parma) and Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) today joined House Democrats at a Statehouse press conference to announce legislation that would incorporate into Ohio law patient protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. The legislation comes as a ruling in Texas v. U.S. by the Federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is pending—a decision that could threaten the healthcare coverage of millions of Ohioans with pre-existing conditions if the ACA is overturned.


“There is a very real possibility that the Federal Courts may strike down the ACA and the health care coverage that currently exists for patients suffering from pre-existing conditions. According to a recent report from the Kaiser Foundation, approximately 2 million Ohioans may lose their health care coverage if the ACA is ultimately overturned by the Courts,” said Rep. Crossman. “We need to incorporate these protections now to ensure that every Ohioan will have access to affordable quality healthcare regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately does with this lawsuit.”


Reps. Crossman and Clites’s proposal would keep the ACA’s popular patient protections even if the courts strike down the landmark legislation, including:



  • Coverage for those with pre-existing conditions,

  • Limits on insurance premiums,

  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits,

  • Coverage of essential health benefits, like preventative and maternal healthcare.


“The patient protections in the Affordable Care Act were life changing for not only my family, but for millions of Ohioans. It is our responsibility to ensure Ohioans can live with the security and stability of knowing that they will have access to affordable care when they’re sick,” said Rep. Clites. “I know first-hand the struggles families face when a loved one gets sick; you shouldn’t have to fight your insurance company to make sure you get the care you need when making tough medical decisions.”


Crossman and Clites’s announcement comes during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and just days before the 2020 Open Enrollment Period is set to begin. Open Enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2020 runs from Friday, November 1, to Sunday, December 15, 2019.


After introduction, the bill will be referred to a committee in the Ohio House, where it will be eligible for hearings and public testimony.

 
 
  

Democratic state Reps. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) and Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) will hold a press conference Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m.in the Harding Senate Press Briefing Room to introduce legislation that will incorporate protections for patients with pre-existing conditions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into Ohio law. While Representatives Crossman and Clites have been working on this legislation for several months, they are choosing to introduce this legislation during Breast Cancer Awareness month and ahead of this year’s ACA open enrollment date of November 1. This legislation is also offered amid an expected ruling any day in Texas v. U.S. which is pending in the Federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and threatens healthcare coverage for persons across the country, including many Ohioans.


“There is a very real possibility that the Federal Courts may strike down the ACA and the health care coverage that currently exists for patients suffering from pre-existing conditions. According to a recent report from the Kaiser Foundation, approximately 2 million Ohioans may lose their health care coverage if the ACA is ultimately overturned by the Courts.” said Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma). “We need to incorporate these protections now to ensure that every Ohioan will have access to affordable quality healthcare regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately does with this lawsuit.”


“The patient protections in the Affordable Care Act were life changing for not only my family, but for millions of Ohioans. It is our responsibility to ensure Ohioans can live with the security and stability of knowing that they will have access to affordable care when they’re sick,” said Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna). “I know first-hand the struggles families face when a loved one gets sick; you shouldn’t have to fight your insurance company to make sure you get the care you need when making tough medical decisions.”


WHO: State Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma); State Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna); Tori Geib, Susan G. Komen Foundation; Kelly Maynard, Little Hercules Foundation; Susan Hyde, UHCANOhio                          


WHAT: Press Conference 


WHEN: Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 10 a.m.


WHERE: Warren G. Harding Press Room, Ohio Statehouse

 
 
  

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement as a number of Democratic-backed policy provisions contained within the state’s two-year state budget went into effect Oct. 17.


“I’m proud of the work our members did on this budget, securing a number of commonsense Democratic priorities to improve the lives of working people and families. Priorities like eliminating the bottom two tax brackets and increasing salaries for our teachers reaffirm our commitment to working together to restore our state’s promise of better lives and brighter futures for all, and we look forward to working together, as Democrats and Republicans, to continue delivering results for Ohio taxpayers and to continue moving our state forward.”


Beginning this week and extending into the coming months, here are some of the changes Ohioans will begin to notice that Democrats fought for:



  • The elimination of the tax burden for people making less than $21,750 to provide a much-needed tax break to those who need it most;

  • The creation of a lead-abatement tax credit to make it more affordable for families to rid their homes of poisonous lead;

  • The increase of the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 to deter young people from starting dangerous habits;

  • Making foster caregivers mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect to protect the safety and security of all Ohio children;

  • Including places of worship to the list of organizations that can administer naloxone in an emergency to combat the opioid epidemic;

  • Allowing for pharmacists to make customers aware of cheaper medications that may be available to them to help alleviate the cost of prescription drugs;

  • Increasing the base salary for teachers from $20,000 to $30,000 to provide a more livable wage to those who mold the minds of tomorrow;

  • Requiring high-poverty public schools now offer breakfast to all enrolled students during the school day ensuring no one begins the school day hungry;

  • Exempting a disabled veteran from paying registration taxes or fees on a military service or valor license plate in honor of the sacrifices they have made;

  • And expanding the age and income eligibility requirements for the Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Project breast cancer screening and diagnostic services so more women’s lives can be saved by early diagnosis.

 
 
  

State Reps. Jeff Crossman (D- Parma) and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) today joined lawmakers and UAW workers at a Statehouse press conference to announce legislation to extend unemployment benefits and food assistance to union workers fighting for fair wages, better benefits and safer working conditions. The call comes amid a nationwide strike by UAW employees, who reached a tentative labor agreement Wed. on the 31st day of their strike with General Motors.


“While the news of a tentative deal between the UAW and GM is good news, it does not change the fact that there is a need for the legislation we are proposing today,” said Rep. Crossman. “Labor is strong and active in Ohio, and we need to keep it that way. Whether I’ve talked to workers in Parma, West Chester, or elsewhere, they have all said the same thing: ‘We are striking for everyone. We want the next generation to have the opportunities we’ve had.’ They love what they do, but they need our help.”


Rep. Crossman’s bill would extend unemployment benefits to striking workers who are working on reduced pay during the month-long strike, putting strains on the budgets of thousands of Ohio workers and their families. If passed, the bill would ensure UAW workers currently on strike with GM would be immediately eligible for benefits. 


“Today, UAW members on the picket line are taking a huge risk to stand for what is right,” said Rep. Sobecki. “Earlier in the year, the nurses in Toledo stood on the streets to protect their patients. Tomorrow, it could be union members in your community fighting against injustice. That is why we all need to support the strike because, when union workers are strong, all workers are strong. When workers across our state are strong, Ohio’s economy is strong.”


Rep. Sobecki’s proposed resolution would call on the federal government to allow workers on strike and their families to apply for SNAP benefits.


Crossman and Sobecki’s call follows recent House Democratic efforts to push commonsense legislation to ensure the economic security and stability of working people and families, part of the caucus’s ongoing Ohio Promise campaign.


After introduction, the proposals will be referred to House committees, where they will be eligible for hearings.

 
 
  
<< Older Posts Newer Posts >>
Featured Posts

Rep. West Leads Bipartisan Push To Grow Ohio's Minority-owned Businesses

 

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today joined Democratic lawmakers, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and business leaders at a Statehouse press conference to outline their blueprint to strengthen Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. The event kicked off Minority Business Day at the Statehouse and highlighted successful business development programs in West’s district he says serve as a model for the state.   



 
 

Leader Sykes Statement On Latest GOP Extreme Abortion Ban

 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement on the latest extreme total abortion ban introduced by House Republican lawmakers this week.

“This latest abortion ban from extreme, right-wing lawmakers is the most brazen and absurd attempt yet to deny Ohio women their fundamental freedoms, to interfere with the patient-doctor relationship and disproportionately target communities of color across Ohio.



 
 

Dem Lawmakers, Lieutenant Governor To Highlight Ohio's Minority-owned Businesses

 

State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) will joinHouse Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), Lt. Governor Jon Husted and representatives from JobsOhio on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. in the Statehouse Harding Press Room for a press conference to discuss the state of Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. 



 
 

Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Ohio Rare Disease Council Act

 

Today, state Reps. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) held a Statehouse press conference to introduce bipartisan legislation to create the Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council. The bill would bring together medical researchers, physicians, nurses, patients, lawmakers and state officials to begin addressing many of the issues facing those living with rare diseases.