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Group Petitions Against Repealing Obamacare For Ohioans

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12th District constituents hand off petition for a town hall meeting before the ACA is repealed.

A group of constituents will deliver a petition with more than 1,000 signatures to Representative Pat Tiberi’s office before he votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare).

Their petition requests that Tiberi hold a town hall meeting before voting to repeal the ACA. John Russel, initiator of the petition, attempted to contact Tiberi’s office to ask if there would be a town hall meeting, and the answer was always no. After asking if a meeting could be held, Tiberi’s office again answered no.

The petition was open to be signed on public groups and social media spaces, and the signatures are delivered with an ever mounting sense of urgency, “I think there’s a kind of flavor of repealing [the ACA] to simply meet political promises,” said Russel. Russel understands why the Republican party wants it repealed, but he says the way they’re going about it does not take into consideration the thousands of people who stand to lose healthcare altogether if the ACA is repealed.

Currently, Obamacare covers and expands healthcare benefits for over 6 million Ohioans – 664,000 of those were previously uninsured before Obamacare was enacted.

“As a Type 1 diabetic, I have no other choice for health insurance,” said Mindy Hodges, one of the petition signers, “There are more than 700,000 other diabetics living in Ohio and many of us have been turned down by insurance companies because of this pre-existing condition. Without the ACA, I would not be able to afford the $700 per month of prescription drugs I need or the additional costs for doctors’ visits and blood work. We need Representative Tiberi and Senator Portman to help us, even if it means crossing party lines to do so.”

For those previously insured, the ACA (Obamacare) offers extension of benefits such as keeping a child on a parent’s health insurance until age 26, offering free preventative care including cancer screenings and mammograms, and slower premium growths. Under the ACA, premium growths have slowed from 7.1% to 5.3%, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

“This town hall meeting is one of the simplest things you can do, it’s in Tiberi’s job description to listen to his constituents. [Health care coverage] is life or death for some people,” said Russel.

The town hall meeting Russel and the other thousand signatures are proposing will simply be a chance for constituents to make their voices heard, tell their stories and describe how important having health care is for them.

Tiberi holds precedence over Congressional District 12. The petition will be delivered at 2 PM to Tiberi’s office. For more information, visit the petition page on Change.org. 

 

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: Heartbeat Bill will likely affect 11yo Ohio rape victim

Caitlin Horwatt

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The passage of Ohio’s recent “heartbeat bill,” signed by Governor DeWine, marks a massive and distressing win in the conservative quest to outright ban abortion. All parties supporting the bill—from DeWine to legislators and lobbyists—are well aware that the action will be blocked by courts as they uphold Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion until 24 weeks gestation. We should be frightened as we explore whether their big picture goal is to get Roe v. Wade overturned by the decidedly conservative Court.

By banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected, the law prohibits abortion as early as eight weeks, well before many women know they are pregnant. Add in the already mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period between first appointment and procedure, and the likelihood of legal abortion for even a pregnancy detected early seems slim. The law is an blatant attempt to ban women’s right to choose.

The Guttmacher Institute found that ​1 in 4 women​ has had an abortion before age 45. The Pew Research Center found that ​58% of Americans support legal abortion ​in all or most cases, with polarizing views against abortion coming mostly from Republican and religious Americans. These statistics fail to depict, though, how traumatic the impact can be for women forced to carry a child to term when she does not have the means or support to do so. The law is meant to protect the fetus at a term that is far earlier than the 22 to 24 weeks at which it is viable, all at the cost of the mother.

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The bill notably does not give exceptions for cases of rape and incest, only allowing exceptions for medical necessity to save the mother’s life. This means an ​11 year-old rape victim from Massillon​ will likely have to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

Heartbeat bills do not ban abortion; they ban legal abortion. I think of a sign I saw during the 2017 Women’s March: a metal coat hanger with the words “WE WON’T GO BACK” scrawled below. The passage of this recent law achingly raises questions of whether or not we will go back.

Women who now find themselves pregnant could have their lives forever changed. Even if they choose to surrender the baby after birth, the cost of a pregnancy is astronomical and healthcare is far from a certainty in this country. If the pregnancy was caused by rape, the potential for trauma only escalates. Women will have few places to turn, with the most vulnerable unable to seek safe healthcare and the potential high for maternal deaths as part of botched abortions.

The ACLU and other organizations are already moving to challenge the ban in court. I can’t shake the looming feeling that these challenges will only play into the hands of those anti-abortion supporters, and that we may be entering the most important fight of our generation in this fight for a woman’s right to choose.

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OP-ED: ‘Red flag’ is far cry from where Ohio gun law should be

Joanne Strasser

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Last weekend, a man entered a synagogue in Poway, California armed with a rifle. The Washington Post reports that prior to him entering the place of worship, the accused shooter wrote a 7-page letter about his hatred for Jewish people. He believed killing them would “glorify God.” Below is an op-ed from one Columbus mother who believes Ohio should be taking a stronger stance against guns following of the Poway tragedy.

Even in light of this past weekend’s synagogue shooting, DeWine is still unwilling to change Ohio’s gun laws. He is, however, advocating for Ohio to pass a red flag law, which would allow law enforcement to seize guns from individuals deemed a societal risk.

This isn’t the first time the red flag law was floated in the Ohio Legislature.  In the wake of last year’s Parkland High School shooting in Florida, former Gov. Kasich backed the proposed law, which ultimately failed to gain support.

Opposition to the legislation stems from Republican lawmakers’ belief that it infringes on the constitution rights to bear arms and proper due process of law. However, 14 other states have already implemented the red flag law.

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Moms Demand Action, a national gun control organization, notes that 42% of attackers exhibit warning signs before shootings occur. And although this legislation would only be a small step in the right direction, it could help save lives.

But ultimately, statistics don’t matter to politicians, who are dependent on dollars from the gun lobby.  And until our elected officials decide that Ohioans‘ safety comes first, any measure, regardless of how small and sensible, will fail. 

Ohio Republicans need to take a long hard look at their agenda and ask themselves if it truly serves our needs. Which is more important: our children feeling safe at school or campaign contributions? 

The red flag law is a common-sense measure, and while it’s a far cry from where Ohio gun restriction needs to be, it’s certainly a start.

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Daily double: New legislation calls for huge minimum wage hike

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If new legislation passes, Ohio’s minimum wage could nearly double in the next several years. Two Democratic senators are working to increase hourly pay from $8.55 to $15.

State Senators Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) introduced the legislation Wednesday, reports 10TV.

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The new legislation stipulates a $12 minimum per hour beginning in January 2020 and a $1 yearly increase until 2023 to keep up with inflation.

“We have an obligation to make life better for the people in our state and that includes providing living wages,” said Sen. Thomas, per 10TV. “This increase to the minimum wage will help workers and their families have a better life. And when people have more money, it also benefits the local economy from increased spending in the community.”

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