HFLA of NEO’s Letter to Senator Portman

HFLA of NEO Board president, Lisa Arlyn Lowe recently sent the following letter to Ohio Senator Rob Portman in support of his opposition to the health care bill currently before the Ohio Senate. 

Dear Senator Portman:

Thank you for opposing the health care bill that is currently before the Senate.  In its present form, the Senate Bill is detrimental to all Americans—not just your Ohio constituents. In addition to slashing Medicaid and Medicare, as well as denying millions of Americans access to affordable health care, it limits (or prevents) access to care for opioid addiction – an issue about which I know you are personally passionate.

If this or similar legislation is passed into law, among the “unintended negative consequences” of significantly increasing the cost of health insurance (if it is available at all) will be an increase in lower or low income families who turn to predatory “payday” loans to finance their medical needs – even the basic ones.

In Ohio, payday loans are, by far the nation’s costliest—with a typical (yes, a typical) interest rate of 591 percent – your constituents will be doubly disadvantaged.  In addition to the burden of paying out-of-pocket for medical treatment, many Ohioans will – if they are fortunate enough to get timely treatment and recover – be burdened with decades of usurious debt.

I currently have the privilege of serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of HFLA of Northeast Ohio, which has been providing interest-free loans to Northeast Ohioans, on a non-sectarian basis, for over 113 years.   In recent years we have helped an increasing number of families to pay off predatory loans, “right size” their budgets and pull out of debt.  Last week we helped a gentleman who went to a payday lender because the medical equipment his diabetic wife needed was not covered by insurance.

From our unique perspective, it is clear that if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and millions of people cannot afford health care more than in any other state, the payday lenders will be among the few true winners.

We urge you to continue opposing any change to the ACA that would have this devastating result for the people of Ohio.

HFLA of Northeast Ohio