For Immediate Release: May 7, 2012
Contact: Dale Butland, 614-783-5833
Columbus: Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, issued a report today which finds that eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act would cost Ohio millions of dollars in federal funds and have a disproportionately adverse effect on women and children.
The Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives voted (HB 4628) to zero out the fund in order to pay the $6 billion cost of keeping interest rates on federal student loans at 3.4%.
The U.S. Senate is considering a bill co-sponsored by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (S. 2343) that would keep the lower interest rate, but pay for it by closing a loophole that allows wealthy owners of privately held “S-Corporations” to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Without congressional action, interest rates for Stafford college loans will double to 6.8% on July 1, thus costing many college students and their families an extra $1,000 in interest payments. An estimated 380,000 Ohio students use Stafford loans to pay for college.
Among the IO Report’s main findings are:
Said IO President Janetta King:
“Ohio college students and their families are already swimming in debt and can’t afford to see their loan interest rates double. But it’s cynical politics and poor public policy to insist that the only way to help college students is by hurting the health of women and children.
“Nor do the budget numbers suggest that it’s necessary. If keeping interest rates from doubling costs $6 billion, why do House Republicans insist on cutting $12 billion?
“If stopping illness before it starts is cheaper than treatment, why are Republicans targeting an illness prevention Fund that provides services to over 2 million Ohioans?
“No, the House Republican bill isn’t about saving money. It’s about the Republican obsession with undoing health care reform. And it’s also about their willingness to say and do anything to preserve tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans –even if it comes at the expense of those truly in need of help.”
The report can be found here.