On the eve of President Donald Trump’s visit to Youngstown, Mayor John McNally and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley issued an open letter warning of the economic impacts to their regions if Medicaid expansion is slashed. A full copy of the letter is included below:
Dear President Trump:
Your visit to Youngstown on Tuesday comes at a critical time in the ongoing effort to improve our nation’s healthcare system. As this debate continues, it’s important to understand that repealing Medicaid expansion and making other drastic changes to the current system will have serious economic consequences in our communities.
As you know, the economies in Dayton and Youngstown have been hard hit by globalization. When manufacturing jobs left, programs like Medicaid became a lifeline for far too many displaced workers. Furthermore, while our communities have made a resurgence in recent years, we are continually challenged to ensure that our economies grow and provide good-paying jobs for our residents. The healthcare industry plays an important role in this effort. If Medicaid is repealed, it will adversely impact our residents and our local economies.
You ran on a promise of restoring prosperity to regions of the country like ours. Yet, the ongoing effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will hurt our communities and our constituents. In Ohio, Mahoning County has the highest percentage of adults who receive coverage through Medicaid Expansion, 14.4 percent of adults aged 19-64, while Montgomery County has 11.9 percent of adults on Medicaid expansion.
Furthermore, the opioid epidemic is ravaging our communities and hurting our economies. Medicaid provides nearly half of all opioid addiction treatment funding, and cutting this program back will only make our challenges harder. Over 220,000 Ohioans could lose their treatment coverage if Medicaid expansion is slashed.
We would urge you to form a bipartisan working group of lawmakers, governors, and mayors to find solutions that will legitimately improve our healthcare system. There is simply too much at stake in our communities to pass an ill-conceived repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Instead of making matters worse, let’s make things better by fixing bad trade policies, fighting the opioid epidemic, and moving forward on the promised $1 trillion infrastructure package.
John A. McNally, Mayor
City of Youngstown
Nan Whaley, Mayor
City of Dayton