By J.D. Davidson
The Center Square


Ohio Democrats again have introduced legislation that would give universal health care to Ohioans, despite failing with the effort over the past decade.

Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, said Senate Bill 253, the Ohio Health Care Plan, would provide universal, single-payer access to health care, dental care and vision care for all Ohioans.

Similar legislation has been introduced in each two-year-session over the past 10 years. Each has had little movement. Lawmakers have not yet said how much the proposal would cost the state.

“Uncertain deductibles, copays and other skyrocketing costs leave many Ohioans one health crisis away from financial ruin, especially those who are uninsured,” Fedor said. “Everyone should have the freedom to receive quality, affordable care from a doctor or dentist of their choosing. Ohioans shouldn’t have to worry about whether they will be able to pay for life-saving treatments after an accident or diagnosis.”

Fedor also said a Forbes report showed an increase in health care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic and predicted those costs would continue to rise.

Sen. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, said current health care provider systems hurt minorities and other groups.

“Access to health care is a human right that should be available to all, not a privilege for the few who can afford it,” Antonio said. “Ohio’s current health provider system creates disparities among minority populations, as well as the insured, underinsured and uninsured. It is long past time we implement an equitable and comprehensive health care system that treats everyone equally, regardless of their ability to pay. The health and future of Ohioans are at stake.”

Ohio has the 12th-highest adult obesity rate in the U.S. About 33.5% of adult residents report a body mass index of 30 or greater, according to Harvard researcher estimates published in December 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

About 17.8% of adults in Ohio report being in poor or fair health, the 21st-highest share in the U.S. Nationwide, 17% of adults report subpar health.

Obesity is a leading risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, and 12.2% of Ohio residents over age 20 have diabetes, the 10th-highest share of all states. The diabetes prevalence across the country among the same age group is 10.5%.