Democrats appear at Good Sam for Medicaid expansion support

Ohio Democrats gathered in front of Good Samaritan Hospital on Friday to advocate for Medicaid expansion support.

The Dayton hospital is poised to close 12:01 a.m. Monday, and the hospital’s emergency department has already closed.

Local Democratic candidates said erosion of Medicaid expansion could lead to more hospital closings as that burden of care covered under the state-federal insurance program instead becomes unpaid hospital bills and lost revenue.

MORE: Listen to Good Sam final dispatch sign off for emergency room

Premier Health, which operates Good Samaritan, has said the hospital is closing because it isn’t sustainable to maintain two hospitals five miles from of each other when health care is shifting to outpatient settings and the population in Dayton is falling.

Premier said in a statement following the event that the Dayton area is one of just a few large metropolitan areas in the United States that lack a public or university-operated hospital, which help cover the community cost of caring for Medicaid patients, and that combined with a “low per-capita level of local levy support for health services” underscores why area hospitals need Ohio’s Medicaid expansion to remain in place.

“However, Medicaid expansion was not a factor in the decision to close Good Samaritan Hospital’s main campus on Philadelphia Drive. Instead, Premier Health is doing its part to address the excess number of inpatient beds across the entire Dayton region,” Premier stated.

But Ohio Democrats still highlighted it Friday as a symbol of how curtailed Medicaid expansion could harm hospitals because they said it shows an example of a hospital closing and how that affects a community.

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said Good Samaritan is “symbolic, unfortunately, of what might happen if we don’t get it right in November.”

“This November we have on the ballot a group of candidates like the candidates here today who are fighting for things like Medicaid expansion, they are fighting for people with pre-existing conditions,” he said. “On the other side we have opponents who have voted again and again against Medicaid expansion.”

MORE: What’s next? How the Good Sam ER closure will affect other area hospitals and patients

Besides Pepper, those in attendance included Ohio Senate District 5 candidate Paul Bradley, Ohio House District 40 candidate Ryan Rebecca Taylor, Ohio House District 41 candidate and Dayton Public Schools Board Vice President John McManus and Ohio House District 42 candidate Zach Dickerson.

Mike DeWine, Republican candidate for Ohio governor, recently said he would support keeping Medicaid expansion but would want reforms like work requirements.

As Ohio Attorney General, DeWine had previously challenged the Affordable Care Act and its provisions, including Medicaid expansion. His Democratic opponent, Richard Cordray, supports Medicaid expansion.

About 700,000 low income Ohioans are covered under the expansion of Medicaid.