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As courts take another look at the Affordable Care Act, Governor Mike DeWine vows to protect Ohioans

Mike DeWine
Posted at 6:12 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 18:59:22-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The decision this week by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as unconstitutional while not ruling on the viability of the rest did not come as a surprise to many.

"We're going to hear more court rulings, this is certainly not the final say on this," Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said.

DeWine did not support the Affordable Care Act as Ohio Attorney General nor the Kasich administration's Medicaid expansion under it, but as the governor who inherited it, he vowed to protect the protections in it.

"My commitment to the people of the state of Ohio is if the Federal law does change either by the Congress or by a court decision that we're going to guarantee the people have the right to get insurance. We're going to guarantee the preexisting illnesses and medical problems does not preclude you nor will it mean you have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for insurance."

The expansion of medicaid in 2013 saw the addition of 700,000 Ohioans to the rolls of the insured while helping to fuel expansion in the healthcare industry. The Cleveland Clinic, for example, is the state's largest employer—adding 9,400 employees over the last five years.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman said he always believed that the individual mandate was unconstitutional but he also believed removing it would not impact the rest of the law.

"We'll see what happens it will probably go all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court," Portman said. "But in the meantime, Congress should act. I mean, there are so many things we can do to reduce the costs of drugs. Right now there's a prescription drug policy out of one of my committees but also two other committees in the senate we could combine those."

In addition to the cost of prescription drugs, Portman also addressed the concern over the cost of healthcare.

"And then there are a lot of other ideas out there that I strongly support to try to provide more transparency in healthcare, so people know what the costs are," Portman said. "The cost of healthcare is the biggest issue that I hear when I'm home in terms of access to care, if you can get the cost down you'll have more access. So my hope is we can move on to that regardless of what the court does."

RELATED: Obamacare's individual mandate ruled unconstitutional nearly a decade after law's passage