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Future Uncertain for CA Healthcare Reform Under GOP

By Doug Desjardins  
   November 22, 2016

"Californians should be alarmed by repeal proposals that would, among other rollbacks, cut $16 billion from our Medi-Cal program in just two years, forcing elimination of coverage for more than 3 million Californians," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California.

Any plan to reduce funding for Medicaid expansion or federal subsidies could have a major impact on state residents who gained coverage under healthcare reform, potentially making that coverage unaffordable, Weinberg said.

Covered California's Future In Peril If Federal Subsidies Dry Up

"There are a range of proposals on the subsidy side, which include a tax credit or less generous subsidies," he said. "It's just a matter of how much of the $20 billion federal spigot will be turned off."

California doesn't have the financial capacity to backfill the proposed federal cuts to health insurance subsidies or the cuts proposed for public plans, according to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

"In California, the ACA has enabled us to provide health insurance to 5.5 million additional Californians through Medicaid expansion and another 1.4 million Californians have health insurance through our exchange, Covered California, of which 90% receive a reduced premium thanks to ACA subsidies," Jones said.

The percentage of California residents without insurance had dropped to 8.6% at the end of 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Census data estimates there were 3.3 million state residents without insurance at the end of 2015.

A report from the Urban Institute released this month cited a study from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget that estimates the number of uninsured residents would increase by 21 million, to a total of 50 million nationwide by 2018 if the ACA is repealed.

In California, the report estimates the number of uninsured would more than double to 7.5 million by 2018.

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