GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio under pressure on health bill

How does rural Ohio feel about the health care fight

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - U.S. Sen. Rob Portman announced his opposition to the current Senate health care bill after days of political pummeling that ended with the vote delayed.

The Ohio Republican issued a statement Tuesday after the Senate delayed its vote and after he had been subjected to baseball game flyovers, demonstrations and other pressures to oppose the bill.

Portman says he continues to have concerns about the Medicaid policies in the bill. He specifically pointed to those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to bring the bill to a vote before the July 4th recess. He said Tuesday afternoon he would delay a vote while GOP leadership works toward getting enough votes.

Portman also has had to deal with opposition to the bill from GOP Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich has been highly critical nationally of the bill's cuts to Medicaid, which he says will harm America's most vulnerable citizens.

Vice President Mike Pence is pushing back with a visit to Cleveland on Wednesday in support of the bill. That catches Portman, who represents a closely divided battleground state, in the crosshairs of the high-stakes intraparty fight.

Portman easily won re-election in 2016, so he's got some time and political cushion to await an alternative bill. But GOP leaders are eager now to replace the Affordable Care Act..

© 2017 Associated Press


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