Though the budget analysis released Wednesday on the GOP health care bill didn’t address California specifically, both the state’s Medicaid program and its individual market could be seriously harmed if the legislation passes, according to legislators, consumer advocates and other critics.
“I feel like I am in a bad dream,” said Sen. Ed Hernandez, the West Covina Democrat who chairs the state Senate Health Committee.
The Congressional Budget Office confirmed what Hernandez expected — that large numbers of people would lose coverage and poorer, older Californians would pay significantly more for coverage under the American Health Care Act.
Hernandez said he’s especially concerned about the changes to the Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal in California. “The state budget is not going to be able to absorb this,” he said. “We are going to have a real problem.”
Jen Flory, a policy advocate at the Western Center on Law & Poverty in California, said the CBO report shows that “drastic cuts to Medicaid are largely offsetting tax cuts for wealthy Americans.”
Flory said she also feared that that optional Medi-Cal benefits under the law — such as prescription drugs and nursing home care — would be at risk. “The state would be faced with some really tough choices,” Flory said.